Television's First Gay Detective On America's First Gay Television NetworkChad Allen stars as gay detective Donald Strachey in this gritty series of crime stories based on the popular novels by author Richard Stevenson.In ... more »Third Man Out Strachey is commissioned to protect gay activist John Rutka known for "outing" prominent citizens. Strachey abandons bodyguard duty when he feels that Rutka is staging the threats against him. When Rutka turns up dead Strachey is faced with an extensive list of enemies all with enough motive to kill.System Requirements:Running Time: 99 MinutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLERS Rating: NR UPC: 796019795128 Manufacturer No: 79512« less
"This is one of the most satisfying "gay" films I've seen since "Beautiful Thing," and one of the best mystery-married pairings since John and Sherlock, or should I say Nick and Nora. It's the story of Donald Strachey, tough guy P.I. with a shady past and a sweet tooth for guy pal Sebastian Spence. It's a good story, not a great one, with a sultry jazz score and topical references to such controversial subjects as celebrity outing and pedophiliac priests. What makes it work is the unconventional casting of Chad Allen (who is gay himself, but whose somewhat beat-up good looks don't conform to cinematic stereotypes of gay--although one character dubs him "Nancy-boy Drew") as Strachey, who just happens to be very happily married to Timothy (played by Sebastian Spence, who is apparently straight, and maybe that's why his character overdoes the nelly a bit). Allen, as Strachey, is developing very nicely as an actor, and he's more interesting looking now than he ever was as a child. In "Third Man Out," he gets solid support from QAF's Jack Wetherall and Sean Young. Apparently, this is the first in a series, based on the novels by Richard Stevenson and set, contrarily, in Albany, rather than in New York City or San Francisco. Hopefully, it will prove popular enough with its intended audience that other books in the series will also be filmed. Apart from the rather pedestrian direction (by Ron Oliver) and a couple of too obvious twists in the plot, "Third Man" is entertaining throughout.
A worthy effort
M. Tietjen | Syracuse, NY, USA | 08/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having read the original novel "Third Man Out," I have to agree that the screenplay for the movie version was reasonably well adapted. Since I wasn't a huge fan of the book, "reasonably well adapted" to me means that 90% of the book was changed. The movie is loaded with gritty sex and violence that the novel was just missing. Occupations were changed (in the case of one character, from a meteorologist to a singing, puppet-wielding, male Shari Lewis wannabe), motives were changed, personalities were beefed up or changed, scenes were added, a distasteful, unnecessary, and preachy subplot was completely deleted, and the story was transplanted from an obviously early 1990's setting to a vaguely 30's-era seeming present day. None of these are complaints, mind you; everything has been improved. Dramatically.
Unfortunately, whoever adapted the screenplay neglected to change the atrociously bad ending. It negates scenes which took place earlier in the movie, tries to make a point and fails, and is altogether best left unviewed--stop your DVD player about fifteen minutes before the end if you want a satisfactory viewing experience. Without spoiling anything, the twist itself was fine--clever, actually--but various characters' reactions to it were so untrue to life as to be almost offensive. When a character in a movie makes a grand speech at the end that causes other characters to hang their heads in shame, you at least expect the speech to make an ounce of sense and to have any persuasive power whatsoever. Instead, my reaction (to both the book and the movie) was a simple, "Uh huh. Right." Actually, the movie's version of the ending was even worse than the book's, for various reasons.
That, however, is the only reason for a 4-star instead of a 5-star review, and even I wouldn't expect anyone to completely change (or leave out) the ending when adapting a book into a screenplay. The acting is stellar from all of the principals (particularly Chad Allen) and most of the peripherals (I enjoyed the young hotel desk clerk especially), the direction is top-notch and the production values are impressive. I am greatly looking forward to the next Strachey movie.
The only extra on the DVD is a featurette which is actually well worth viewing, particularly for the relevant comments of Chad Allen, who makes more sense than I've ever heard a Hollywood actor make in my life."
"I tell you, someone is trying to kill me!"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having just read an interview with Morgan Fairchild in the local gay press about her role in the newest Donald Strachey thriller Shock to the System, it's a real treat to watch the first Strachey film now just released on video and starring the talented and out gay actor Chad Allen.
Based on one of the early novels by Richard Stevenson, Third Man Out is a gorgeously campy homage the forties noirish thrillers - except that there's one twist - the handsome, hunky detective is decidedly gay and lives a respectable suburban life with his boyfriend and love of his life Timmy Callahan (Sebastian Spence), they're even in the middle of renovating their home.
Things get nasty when Strachey is called upon to protect John Rutka (Jack Wetherall), a local gay activist, who runs a webzine dedicated to outing important people, particularly hypocritical politicians. Someone is trying to murder Rutka and although Strachey is initially hesitant to help the man out, he is eventually convinced Rutka is telling the truth when he turns up dead.
Director Ron Oliver keeps the action and suspense flowing, cleverly shuffling around characters, clues, red herrings and various plot machinations. In one instance, suspicion falls on Rutka's younger boyfriend Eddie (Woody Jefferies) as he was seen walking past just as a firebomb was thrown at Rutka's house. Strachey also mistrusts Rutka's sister (Sean Young), who is out to inherit most of her brother's property.
But in typical noir style, the narrative builds as clues and missteps are piled on top of each other and Strachey eventually discovers a furtive pornographic blackmail plot. Keep in mind, Strachey always has his lovely boyfriend to come home to, and it's a refuge, away from the harsh realities he must deal with on a daily basis.
Third Man Out as a slick, gritty feel, heightened by its very gay sensibility and for a television movie on a fledgling television network, the production values are outstanding. Allan is a perfect choice to play Strachey and he totally inhabits the character's penchant for grittiness and sometimes even using violence and threats to get the necessary information. He's a good-looking and sexy, yet totally tough detective, who never shies away from the truth.
Although its prime function is to entertain, Third Man Out also finds room for social comment - the politics of outing, the problems of gay men trying to live in a straight society, the hypocrisy of those in positions of power and sexual abuse by the certain members of the clergy, are all addressed.
Ron Oliver and writer Mark Saltzman have made thrilling and sophisticated movie and I'm sure the series will only get better. Kudos, however, must also go to the talented Allen who imbeds this character with a definitive likability and is able to make the story really work. Mike Leonard August 06. "
Ok, excuse me while I go "out" my dog.
Darien Wells | Tulsa, Oklahoma USA | 05/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Third Man Out" proves to be a pretty good movie packed with "film noir" moments and a lot of mystery, suspense and drama. The best part of this film is without doubt, it's star actor Chad Allen, who gives a wonderful performance as "Donald Strachey". Strachey is a gay private detective hired to find who has been threatening a notorious member of the gay community noted for outing prominent people living a double life. When he refuses the case and the notorious John Rutka is reported to have been murdered, Strachey is compelled to solve the crime in spite of his personal disdain for the deceased. To do so, Strachey must protect hundreds of extensive files Rutka kept on high profile individuals he felt were a threat to the gay community. All hell breaks loose when he and his lover become the target of those who had a motive to kill Rutka and are seeking to destroy any evidence which might place them at the top of the list of suspects.
I was intrigued throughout the film to stick with it and find out "who dunnit". Never really a dull moment in this first gay mystery movie. The acting was very well done by almost every one of the nearly all-gay cast. A little overacting on the part of Sebastian Spence, who plays the part of Strachey's boyfriend. Not a bad performance, but probably not best suited for the particular role of the more feminine character. This was a role for which I felt the writing could have been more realistic. Allen's character was perfect, macho and more "straight natured" which fit him to a tee. His acting was flawless. I felt the scripting for the character of Rutka to be written a bit sloppy, and the combination of John Wetherall (Rutka) and Woody Jeffreys as his gay lover Eddie, to be a bit strange, but somehow it worked in spite of that. All in all, the actors all gave a great performance considering the script they were given to work with. There were a few things here and there that I was personally not impressed with, such as one unnecessary political reference that I found very distasteful, a little too much flame in the script for Strachey's lover Timmy, and a few unbelievable lines that I felt could have been much more convincingly written. There was the tattoo that changed from one arm in one scene, to the other arm at one point in the film, and I think a little more attention should have been given to detail throughout. All in all though, this is a great movie, very well done, and a first for gay media. Not your typical "coming-out" theme, or dime a dozen gay film topics. It was a nice twist making a GAY police drama, and I personally enjoyed viewing it. If you like suspense and mystery, you are gonna like this film.
There is also a great DVD extra for your viewing. It is a featurette with behind the scenes interviews with the cast. It is well worth watching and fills in a few details you may miss the first time you watch the film. This screenplay is Loosely adapted from the novel "Third Man Out", and the first of a series of Donald Strachey films. I will be watching for the next one. Hopefully it will be a little better written and directed than the first, BUT that being said, I highly recommend this movie. Just don't go overboard with your expectations. It's not the best mystery flick you've ever seen, but the gay theme behind it, gives it a nice flair, and the acting of Chad Allen makes it well worth watching. A great mystery that will keep your attention and dispense a few surprises along the way."
AN ENTERTAINING WHO DONE IT, WITH A WONDERFUL GAY COUPLE !
Jak Klinikowski | El Paso, TX United States | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I normally review books exclusively, but I'm making an exception for this fine film. Not having read the book this film is based on, I can't compare the two, but on its own this movie certainly entertains.
This is the first in a planned series of films, about out detective Donald Strachey, and his loving partner Tim. Donald is hired by a gay muck-raker, John Rutka, after he's been shot in the leg. Rutka fears someone he has publicly outed is responsible, and wants them stoped before it's too late.
The production values, so lacking in most gay films, are top-notch, and the script is well paced, never allowing the story to drag. The direction is crisp and the performances are well rounded and three dimensional.
It is so refreshing to see a truly loving and strong gay relationship portrayed on screen, and the relationship here is the real foundation of the film. Chad Allen as Donald and Sebastian Spence as Tim are to be commended for their fine work. They make a very impressive and heartwarming team. I'm ordering the second installment, SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM, now !"