The Boys in the Band (USA; 1970)
Original one sheet movie poster
Based on the play by gay playwright Mart Crowley and featuring the original off-Broadway cast, The Boys in the Band confronts the subject of male homosexuality in surprisingly direct ways. In the film, a group of friends gather for a birthday party, but the night of drunken revelry turns ugly as the weaknesses, fears, and loneliness of each man becomes apparent. Although the film has been attacked for its portrayal of gay life as a life of sadness and solitude, its in-your-face humor has made it a classic, if stereotypical, gay-themed film. The film’s playful advertising poster, which offers up one of the film’s characters, “Cowboy,” as a birthday present to Harold, was rejected by many newspapers for its perceived tastelessness. Director William Friedkin, best known for such films as The Exorcist and The French Connection, went on to direct the exploitative and much reviled gay-themed film Cruising (1980).