On the night of a birthday celebration for an old friend, homosexual Nelson receives a phone call from his old college roommate, White, who wants to drop by for a visit. Knowing that the "straight" White wouldn't appreciate a night with his gay cronies, Nelson tells his old pal that this
particular night would be impossible. The guests--Gorman, Luckinbill, Combs, Prentice, and Greene, arrive--and the men begin to discuss the tardiness of birthday boy Frey as well as Gorman's gift for Frey, La Tourneaux, a male prostitute who has been engaged to indulge in some birthday fantasies.
The festivities are interrupted by the surprise appearance of White. At first the homosexual group is shy and uncomfortable with the heterosexual, but soon their problems and personalities emerge. White is at first surprised at, then fascinated by, the gathering. After he confesses his own latent
homosexual urges to Nelson, the group stabilizes just in time for Frey's arrival. Although the original theatrical version of the story was considered a daring off-Broadway work--one of the first plays to deal openly with homosexuality--that production, as well as the film version, suffers from
preprogrammed, group-encounter-based dialog and simplistic moralizing. The usual types, the outrageous swish (Gorman), the family man turned gay (Luckinbill), the comer-out-of-the-closet (White), are all displayed with a disregard for true human emotion. The issue is dealt with in a sensitive
manner, but a much less "meaningful" approach would have made the characters much more accessible. The direction by Friedkin is not cinematic at all, looking simply like a rendering of the stage play on celluloid. The action-oriented director, who has shown he can study a character while he's also
entertaining, had much greater success with THE FRENCH CONNECTION and THE EXORCIST. A more understanding, sensitive portrait of contemporary homosexuality can be found in SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY.
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- Rating: R
- Review: On the night of a birthday celebration for an old friend, homosexual Nelson receives a phone call from his old college roommate, White, who wants to drop by for a visit. Knowing that the "straight" White wouldn't appreciate a night with his gay cronies, Ne… (more)