Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party.
OSCAR winner for Best Makeup
CLICK HERE and read Classic Movie Reviews from every year and every genre!
The term “sacred cow” is one that is tossed about quite frequently in art. The term has its origins in the Hindu religion where cows are considered sacred animals, hence why Hindus are not supposed to eat beef and cows roam freely in India. A work of art and/or the artist who creates it are deemed sacred cows because they were the first of their kind and initiated a whole new direction in the medium of art that they are a part of. Pablo Picasso with cubist painting, Ernest Hemmingway with minimalist prose, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie with bebop jazz, etc.
The 1970 William Friedkin directed film adaptation of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking and highly successful off-Broadway play, The Boys in the Band, is considered a “sacred cow” in the genre of gay cinema. The film portrays a birthday party being celebrated by eight gay men in honour of one in the group of friends, and as the evening progresses, the festivities turn sour when an old heterosexual acquaintance of the party’s host arrives unannounced, and devastating behaviour and revelations begin to surface.
However, if a work of art has become a sacred cow because it was the first, does that necessarily mean that the piece is good and stands the test of time? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In the case of The Boys in the Band, I say no. As a political statement, the film has lost its bite and by today’s standards is rather tame. The classic films mentioned previously, which were made in the eighties, maintain their political edge to this day.
I have not seen the play on stage; however, I think that it would be a much more entertaining and fulfilling experience theatrically than it is cinematically, as it does contain interesting characters, some very funny dialogue and situations, and rather moving and profound moments. I would recommend The Boys in the Band for those who are curious to see the film that was the catalyst for gay cinema.
The newly released Special Edition DVD contains a beautifully restored print of the film, three documentaries on the making of the play and the film and their legacy featuring Mart Crowley, William Friedkin and surviving cast members, and audio commentary with Crowley and Friedkin.