An Englishman in New York
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Behind the Scenes
John Hurt as Quentin Crisp Featurette
Giving possibly the best performance of his distinguished career, two-time Academy Award nominee John Hurt (Midnight Express, The Elephant Man) gives a bravura portrayal of British gay icon Quentin Crisp in An Englishman in New York, an exhilarating, funny and inspiring story focusing on Crisp s emigration to the United States the final years of his life.
After the film version of his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant is released to great acclaim, author, artist and raconteur Crisp moves to New York City to star in a one-man off-Broadway show. What was supposed to be a month turns into decades as Crisp regales and captivates New York audiences with his wit and candor on a lifetime lived as an outsider. The film traces his theatrical successes, many friendships and controversies but always living life on his own terms.
Featuring a renowned supporting cast including Tony Award-winning actors Denis O Hare (Milk), Swoosie Kurtz (And the Band Played On, Sisters ) and Cynthia Nixon ( Sex and the City ), An Englishman in New York gives stirring articulation to one of the most unique voices of the 20th century a life befitting the beautiful evocative title song by Sting.
Top customer reviews
John Hurt brings a brilliant luster to his role as the strange but lovely elderly Crisp who sits before audiences and says what comes to his mind. He is befriended by Christopher Street editor Phillip Steel (Dennis O'Hare) who gives him work as a movie critic, noticed by promoter Connie Clausen (Swoosie Kurtz) who schedules him heavily in nightclubs as an act, shy painter Patrick Angus (Jonathan Tucker) whom he champions among galleries, and kooky performance artist Penny Arcade (Cynthia Nixon). At the height of his popularity he makes a comments about AIDS being a 'fad', something that unites gays with a disease that Crisp claims is just what the straight public wants, and his popularity among his audience wanes. He discovers Angus is stricken with the disease and mourns his too soon death, and is sheltered by Steel as he grows into a fragile very elderly 91 year old. Throughout the film Hurt glows as the strange but somehow lovable Crisp, showing us all a side of a man who has been too often dismissed as a weird one. This is a very tender film, complemented by a first class cast, and one that deserves very wide attention. Grady Harp, September 10
We see Quentin Crisp arriving in New York and he instantly falls in love with Manhattan and Greenwich Village in particular. He eventually befriends Philip Steele at Christopher Street magazine; and he gets an agent, Connie Clausen (played wonderfully by Swoosie Kurtz) after one of his speaking engagements. Things go well for Crisp as his agent gets him booking after booking; but when Quentin says that AIDS is "a fad" he turns a lot of people off especially in the gay community. His book tour is cancelled and it becomes much harder for him to find work in public speaking dispensing his views on practically all aspects of life.
Quentin also befriends the young painter Patrick Angus (Jonathan Tucker) who dies tragically of AIDS; but before Angus dies Quentin makes sure to get his work displayed in art galleries for the first time and even David Hockney buys two of Angus' paintings.
I could tell you so much more about the fascinating story of Quentin Crisp's later years which is explored in this film; but I don't want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that Cynthia Nixon does a great job as Penny Arcade, a young woman with whom Quentin performs during his last years.
I recommend this film for anyone interested in Quentin Crisp and/or the history of gay rights in general; and of course if you're interested in seeing the harsh and bitterly cruel impact of AIDS upon the gay community this would be a good addition to your library. Even people who enjoy dramas would do well to get this film.