When you mention the name William Friedkin the most likely reaction you’ll receive is a comment about The Exorcist. Whilst the American director is most famous for the seminal 1973 horror, he has a rich and varied career behind him. The French Connection is almost as equally well-known but the likes of Sorcerer, To Live and Die in LA and Cruising deserve much greater recognition. It was perhaps the release of The Boys in the Band in 1970 which first brought Friedkin to prominence.
Michael, a recovering alcoholic, is throwing a party at his Upper East Side apartment. It’s Harold’s (Leonard Frey) birthday and their friend Donald (Frederick Combs) arrives early to help him prepare. As the other guests begin to arrive, Hank (Laurence Luckinbill) and Larry (Keith Prentice) with their relationship issues, the flamboyant Emory (Cliff Gorman) and the quiet Bernard (Reuben Greene), the festivities soon get into full swing. However, when Michael’s straight college roommate (Peter White) shows up the already spicy atmosphere threatens to explode.
Adapted brilliantly by Mart Crowley from his own Off-Broadway production, The Boys in the Band is a whip-smart drama about gay life in New York. Friedkin has taken the award-winning stage play and seamlessly moulded it for the big screen. It retains the theatrics without being overly theatrical. It’s a film which live or dies by the quality of the script and acting. Both are superb. The Boys in the Band is a powerful, funny, bitter and hopeful drama about love and friendship.
Special edition features:
• Audio Commentary with Director William Friedkin and Writer Mart Crowley
• Exclusive new interview with Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard
• ‘Act 1: The Play’
• ‘Act 2: The Film’
• ‘Act 3: 40 Years of Boys in The Band’
The Boys in the Band is released on Blu-ray by Second Sight on 11 February.