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on May 13, 2004
I was delighted to find that at long last, "Torch Song Trilogy" was finally on DVD. If you are not familiar with this film, it is a must see. A delightful, funny, gentle and moving film. For those not familiar, to put it in the context of time, it was one of the first movies with a positive image of gay characters.
I go way back with Torch Song. In the 1970's I saw, "International Stud" in the Village (I believe it was a theatre on Bleecker St.) I also remember seeing it as an entire triology off off Broadway when it was presented by the Glines (I seem to remember that the ticket cost $5 with a coupon, or was it 2-for $10 with coupon?)
Harvey Fierstien is to be applauded. We take for granted the more positive image we see of gays today (although apparently, we have progressed from the film images of where we kill ourselves, to the television images of where we are only acceptable if we are making straight people happy and so that they can marry each other, while we ourselves are not allowed to get married).
Torch Song represents hope, love, and pride.
A big plus on the DVD is the not to be missed commentary by Harvey.
Thank you Harvey for writing this. Thank you for being a pioneer. Gez ... where is this review going? Somewhere in the background a drag queen is beginning to sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic!"
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on August 2, 1999
This is an offbeat story of a gay female impersonator in his seach for love and a committed relationship. Primarily psychological drama with excellent insights and incisive dialog. Anne Bancroft is great as the Jewish mother, and Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the original play, brings so much angst and personality to his portrayal of the main character that I just couldn't help wishing I knew someone like that in real life. Highly recommended if you want to know more about a lifestyle most people have never seen.
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on May 25, 2004
In 1988, the film version of the Tony Award-winning, landmark play "Torch Song Trilogy", which was written by the outspoken and very witty Harvey Fierstein, was released to theaters. Written originally as three separate one-act plays between 1978 and 1979 ("The International Stud", "Fugue in a Nursery" and "Widows and Children First"), Harvey Fierstein combined them into the more familiar three-act play "Torch Song Trilogy" in 1981 since each one-act play focused on the life of a gay man named Arnold (played by Harvey Fierstein), who is a gay drag-show entertainer. In the first act, Arnold meets a stranger at a bar named Ed (Brian Kerwin). A precarious relationship develops quickly between Ed and Arnold, but Ed also wants to marry a woman named Laurel (Karen Young). In the second act, Arnold meets a young man named Alan (Matthew Broderick) at the club where Arnold performs. A long-term relationship develops between Arnold and Alan until an unexpected tragedy occurs. The third act focuses on Arnold taking care of a teenaged son, David (Eddie Castrodad) that he & Alan had adopted, as well as Arnold's ongoing difficulties with his mother (Anne Bancroft).
With excellent dialog, engaging personalities and superb acting, "Torch Song Trilogy" is a fantastic film, demonstrating not only the love that exists within gay couples, but also the very real difficulties that many gay men face in their daily lives, including the all-too-often difficulties with family members who cannot accept them for who they are. Harvey Fierstein's unique voice adds a special flare to his drag show performances, as well as to his arguments with his mother. Anne Bancroft's performance is superb and emotional. Matthew Broderick did a wonderful portraying Alan. Interestingly, he had played the teenaged son David when "Torch Song Trilogy" was being performed on stage as a play. Brian Kerwin and Karen Young also portray their roles well. Other significant characters in the film include Bertha Venation (Charles Pierce), Marina Del Rey (Alex Vera), the young Arnold (Benji Schulman) and Murray (Kevin Page). Overall, I rate "Torch Song Trilogy" with 5 out of 5 stars. It's especially great to be able to watch the film on widescreen DVD.
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You don't have to be gay to love this surprising and unpretentious little movie, which should appeal to the hidden sense of "outsider" in most viewers. The story of an overweight, overly emotional, gravel-voiced and very unglamorous drag queen who seeks true love in a society that prizes appearance over values, TORCH SONG TRILOGY is a hilarious and often poignantly touching film with a break-out performance by Harvey Fierstein, who adapts his Tony-award winning stage script and performance for the screen with considerable aplomb.
In addition to Fierstein's brilliantly honest script and self-depreciating performance, the film also offers knock-out performances by Anne Bancroft as Fierstein's Jewish-Mother-From-Hell and Matthew Broderick as his much younger and somewhat unlikely lover; although not in the same league with these three, supporting players Brian Kerwin strikes the right note as Fierstein's tepidly bisexual ex-lover and Karen Young is quite good as Kerwin's understandably neurotic wife. Although the film script does depart from the stage script, it remains faithful in spirit, and the film as a whole is reasonably--although not outstandingly--served by director Paul Bogart.
The film abounds with quotable lines ("I'm the pretty one") that will keep you laughing, but although it concludes on a "hope for the future" note TORCH SONG TRILOGY is not all grins and giggles by a long shot: the dramatic underpinnings are deadly serious, and at least one or two scenes will leave most viewers as shocked, angered, and heart-broken as the characters it so vividly displays. While the film isn't BOYS IN THE BAND, I think it is the only gay-themed film to date that actually approaches the artistic and emotional impact of BOYS IN THE BAND; more over, most viewers will probably find it more accessible, and many will be surprised to by a realization of much TORCH has influenced cinema's portrayal of gay characters from the 1980s right up to the present. It deserves considerably more praise and attention than it has received. Strongly recommended.
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on March 10, 1999
Harvey Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick and Brian Kerwin combine in a bitter-sweet comedy-drama set in the 1970's, concluding in 1980. The "Trilogy" is a collection of 3 specific pieces blended together telling the saga of Arnold Beckoff (Fierstein). The story revolves around love, relationships and family - something everyone can relate to. It was a movie before it's time when it premiered in 1988. It is straight-forward and to the point. It will make you laugh and cry and understand the true meaning of love and respect. Harvey Fierstein & Anne Bancroft (Arnold's Mother) are outstanding in their roles. A must see for anyone trying to understand the complexity of love. A well-done adaption to the screen from theatre. Add this video to your collection!
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on February 6, 2003
A well rounded film. Rare to find such a story and very well told. This is one of the first films that I saw on the subject and it was my first gay film purchase. I have enjoyed viewing this film over 20 time easily. I hold this movie in very high regard and feel it is a must for anyone that enjoys rainbow style films.
Invest in this film and you will enjoy it many times.
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on December 11, 2002
I remember this movie when I was struggling with my sexuality. The funny thing is that I use this movie whenever a friend of mine is in conflict and it is the first time I have actually been exposed to gay life in a positive light. Fierstein is witty, charming and just fabulous. Brian Kerwin and Matthew Broderick were great in their respective parts while Anne Bancroft just steals the scene everytime she is on screen. I would recommend this to anyone who has not yet seen a gay-themed movie because other gay movies are much more out there while this is just sensibly and tastefully done. Hooray for Harvey!!
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on May 12, 2004
There seemed to be some confusion about the screen ratio for Torch Song Trilogy. I had sveral emails back and forth with Amazon to try and clarify (without success) I took a chance and re-ordered and I'm delighted to say the DVD arrived with an excellent widescreen anarmorphic transfe. On the back cover it states 'Presented in a format preserving the 1:85.1 aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs' The print quality looks excellent and the sound options include a 5.1 remix and DTS option plus the original stereo surround. Also included is a entertaining and informative commentary form Harvey Fierstein himself (well what else did you expect it to be?!)
This DVD release is long overdue and thankfully appears to have been given the love and care it deserves. Apparently Harvey had been going on endlessly to New Line about a DVD release - thank goodness they finally listened! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
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on December 31, 2004
I saw this movie when it first came out. At the time I had just come out myself a couple of years earlier, and this movie helped me find pride and hope. I shared it with my queer friends, and every time we helped mentor another person who was discovering themselves, we sat them down and had them watch this movie. There are so many more movies now, but this one has definitely earned its place as a classic in my book. It deserves a place in any collection.
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on December 3, 1999
This movies is incredible. when i first came out i was amazed there was a movies that portrayed gays in such a positive light. unlike most movies torch shows us that no matter who you are that we all have a problem finding that elusive perfect love. mathew brodrick should be commended for portraying arolds lover after he portyayed the son on broadway. i have had this movie for years and never get tired of watching it.
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