In 1968, an Off-Broadway play about a birthday party attended by a group of homosexual men made theatrical history by becoming the first play to deal honestly with gay urban life. The party brings together a group of misfits that have become clichés -- the self-loathing alcoholic, the bitchy queen, the flamboyant sissy, the stud-for-hire - for an evening of truth-telling. The film version of The Boys in the Band (1970), starring the play's original cast, has also become a landmark in the history of gays in film. Like many historical artifacts, it now seems dated in its attitudes. But the film's significance is undoubted, and its wicked wit is still intact.
Theatrical Release: March 17th, 1970
DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
commentary by director William Friedkin
Image quality on this dual-layered, progressive DVD is quite strong especially for a film approaching it's 39th birthday. It's framed at 1.78 and is anamorphically enhanced - colors looks brighter than I would have expected while contrast and black levels are top-shelf as rendered for the SD-DVD format. I see no untoward manipulation or boosting.
Audio is a 2.0 channel offering - fairly unremarkable but competent and close, I'll wager, to the way it was produced. Surprisingly there are no subtitle options nor any chapter stops.
Extras include a commentary from Friedkin whom I always love to listen to. He focuses on the production - even of the DVD (colors) - and various minutia only privy to a director of a project including intent and lighting. His memory seems pretty good considering the age of the film. There are about 45 minutes worth of featurettes - divided into three separate pieces which overlap a bit of the information in the commentary. Still, we get input from the original playwright Mart Crowley and some of The Boy's in the Band's producers.
This remains quite a dynamic film expression with excellent dialogue that I'm sure history will continue to favor. Paramount have supplied us with a healthy DVD transfer and some relevant extras. Recommended for those keen on this strong character set-piece and sampling Friedkin's early work.