Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LEATHER 101: Cruising

During a hot New York City summer, body parts of men begin showing up in the Hudson river. Police develop a theory it’s the work of a serial killer picking up gay men at S&M Leather bars like The Eagle’s Nest, The Ramrod and the Cock Pit, taking them home and then stabbing them to death after tying them up. Officer Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is sent deep undercover into the Leather underground in order to track down the killer.

Cruising was released in the 1980s and followed the typical treatment of gays in film, portraying them as comic foibles or as murderous deviants. The subject matter of the film struck a nerve with gay leaders of the time, and when Cruising was in production, Gay Rights Activists and members of New York’s gay community protested the production of the film, even going so far as urging them to disrupt filming. Gay owned businesses were asked to bar the film-makers from their premises and people attempted to interfere with shooting by pointing mirrors from rooftops during filming, and blasting whistles and air horns.

The MPA of America originally gave Cruising an X rating until the director deleted 40 minutes of footage said to depict graphic sex and club scenes.
Like it or not, Cruising was a landmark film for the time, given the homophobia of the 80s, but the quality of the film is murky and debatable. You can still catch cruising on late night airings, (how I actually saw it for the first time) and on DVD.

7 comments:

Larry Ohio said...

I saw Cruising on video tape back in the 80s. It made a big impression on me, and I'm not sure it was a good one. I think it fucked up my whole idea of what the gay world was all about. It taught me that it was dark, hidden, dirty, and wrong. I wonder if and how my life would be different if I had never seen that movie.

markwagnal said...

Hey thanks for this. Some how I never saw it, but after reading about it here and on the web I kinda want to check it out

Eileen said...

I was actually around in nyc when this movie was coming out and people were livid. Every bar and club you went to people were talking about it.

Tom said...

Geoff: Thanks for the comment on my page... I unfortunately never mean to inspire, only share... And now I need to see this movie (from my era) LOL...

Be good, an beeee yourself, as always.

Love ya

Tom

Charlie said...

That is an intense piece of film

Kev said...

Larry and I are on the same page. I didn't like this movie at all. I think it was more damaging than entertaining.

Geoff said...

It's an interesting film isn't it Kevin? I can see both sides of opinion about Cruising. My own take on it was how incredible to put a movie out in 1980 showcasing a gay theme. No, it wasn't perfect at all, but mybe the value of it all is that it fired up the gay community? I'm actually rewatching it now. If anyone would like to watch Crusing go to: http://www.freefullmovies.net/movies/watch.cruising.1980.movie.html

and scroll down to the bottom of the page. It's a great copy and it's free. Thanks for all the comments!

 
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