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1970, Hollywood Classics, 120 min, USA, Dir: William Friedkin

Director William Friedkin’s breakthrough film (and one of the first Hollywood films with an all-gay theme), BOYS IN THE BAND is a scathingly funny bitch-fest swirling around nine gay men who gather for the birthday party of Harold (Leonard Frey), a self-described "32-year-old, ugly, pockmarked Jew fairy." Friedkin adapted Mart Crowley’s landmark Off-Broadway play with a stunning sureness of control - almost the entire film is set in a single room, and Friedkin slowly, brilliantly transforms the space into a battlefield of fierce pride and wounded emotions. With Cliff Gorman, Laurence Luckinbill.

1968, Disney, 127 min, USA, Dir: William Friedkin

Based on Harold Pinter’s celebrated play, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY stars the great Robert Shaw as Stanley, the put-upon tenant - with the menacingly enigmatic Patrick Magee and Sydney Tafler as the unwelcome strangers out to make Shaw’s barely marginal life a perfect hell. An underrated master of adapting stage drama to film (see THE BOYS IN THE BAND), Friedkin pushes Pinter’s savage material to the limit here, creating an unnerving sense of despair and paranoia.

1980, Warner Bros., 106 min, USA, Dir: William Friedkin

A bleakly chilling emotional travelogue of desperation, loneliness and spiritual hunger, CRUISING stars Al Pacino as a naïve undercover cop who descends into the leather-bar underworld of New York’s gay S&M scene. Widely condemned and misinterpreted on its release, CRUISING emerges today as one of Friedkin’s major works - it succeeds as a police procedural, horror film (there are scenes every bit as terrifying as THE EXORCIST), and saga of one seemingly "decent" man’s inability to face the truth about himself. Featuring a terrific score by composer Jack Nitzsche, with songs by The Germs.

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