The Ritz

  • 1976
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Crime

A gay comedy about a steam bath not unlike the Continental Baths in New York (where Bette Midler used to entertain before she became a star) that is very funny in spots and features F. Murray Abraham, who later won an Oscar for AMADEUS. This very New York film was made in England at Twickenham Studios, where they re-created the bathhouse seen in the successful...read more

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A gay comedy about a steam bath not unlike the Continental Baths in New York (where Bette Midler used to entertain before she became a star) that is very funny in spots and features F. Murray Abraham, who later won an Oscar for AMADEUS. This very New York film was made in England at

Twickenham Studios, where they re-created the bathhouse seen in the successful stage play by McNally, who also originally wrote the screenplay. The play starred Weston, Moreno, Stiller, Everson, Brown, and three others who also appear here. It's like a classic French farce and could have been

written by Feydeau. Weston, who is trying to get away from his gangster brother-in-law, Stiller, takes refuge in a bathhouse, unaware that it is a bathhouse of the gay variety. His father-in-law is Coulouris, a dying godfather who has assigned Stiller the job of erasing Weston, who is married to

Ballard. Once inside the bathhouse, Weston gets involved in several complications. Moreno is a terrible singer waiting for her big break and performing for the homosexuals. She thinks Weston is a big-time producer. Price is a gay man who is a "chubby chaser," and since Weston is rotund, he becomes

the apple of Price's eye. Williams, speaking in a falsetto, is a private detective searching for Weston in the bathhouse which, Weston discovers, is owned by the "family." Doors slam, people hide under beds, actors race in and out of the various rooms, a swimming pool is filled with bodies, etc.

In order to disguise himself, Weston gets into drag and sings, with Abraham and Price, a take-off of "The Three Caballeros" (Manuel Esperton, Ray Gilbert) in an Andrews Sisters parody. Moreno vainly attempts to sing the Stephen Sondheim-Jule Styne classic "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and the

worse she does it, the funnier she is. Made in 25 days, it has boundless energy under Lester's direction, and if a joke or a set-up misfires, wait a few seconds and there'll be another laugh soon enough. Very funny and, considering the milieu, surprisingly tasteful.

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  • Released: 1976
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A gay comedy about a steam bath not unlike the Continental Baths in New York (where Bette Midler used to entertain before she became a star) that is very funny in spots and features F. Murray Abraham, who later won an Oscar for AMADEUS. This very New York… (more)

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