The Boys in the Band – 1970
Mart Crowley – play
Mart Crowley – screenplay
Review by Wayne Malin
Like it or not, it’s powerful,
A bunch of gay men (and one straight guy) get together for a birthday party. Things slowly barrel out of control, the men attack each other and “The Truth Game” tears them apart.
I’m an out, proud gay man and I love this movie. Yes, it’s a downer–yes, they all hate themselves–yes, they tear each other apart. But you know what? Those men EXIST! I met them when I came out in the 80s and they’re still around now almost 20 years later. Go to any popular gay bar on a Saturday night and you’ll find plenty of Michaels in full voice. Also, this film was made in 1970 when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness and was against the law in many states–no wonder these guys were miserable.
Also, it was a milestone in Hollywood–the first movie which dealt with all gay characters and not one of them killed himself! I saw it unedited on TV when I was closeted and it didn’t depress me at all. It was uplifting (in a strange way). Even though these men are clawing at each other, they’re still friends and they are there for each other. Also, the “Truth Game” has never been played at parties I’ve gone to. So, you may not like it, but gay men like this do exist. Avoid at all costs the cut TV version. It’s 13 MINUTES shorter and is incomprehensible.