Cruising (William Friedkin, 1980)

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
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#51 Post by david hare » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:17 am

Nothing, I am just curious about your view of the SM material: Homo in Cruising, vis-a-vis for instance Barbet Schroder's: Hetero Maitresse?

I like the Schroder very much and am wildly over the idiotic Friedkin picture which ends up like a slow drip feed on already limited perving (ancient Oz word - means Jerking off to, vicariously ....)

Somebody came and went here (and wiped up of course) about a year ago in a briefly curious mode about SM material generally in movies - I think apart from Stroheim (very explicit), Bunuel (simple foot and shoe fetishism) and Pabst (buried almost to the point of unconsciousness, but that's Pabst really) I can barely detect it as a major sexuality, apart from bubbling under - well, they're all gay - directors like Genet and Anger.

Sternberg is maybe one other (with Herbert Marhsall inevitably as the M to Dietrich's S.) But not much more....

AM curious...... (pink, purple, green, yellow, orange, black, blue, red....)

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Michael
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm

#52 Post by Michael » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:38 am

a specific New York-based S&M community at a certain moment in time.
Were you a part of the gay NY-based S&M community at that time? I know I wasn't so I can't say much about it. All I'm going by is the impression the movie left me. You must realize that the S&M community didn't make Cruising. It was Hollywood and Friedkin who made it. How much the community contributed to the movie other than opening its bars, I can't say. And also, Cruising does have gay folks outside the S&M community so in a way, it still deals with the gay community.
And finally, for Michael, which do you find more dangerous, a work or art or the repression of artistic freedom?
What repression? I simply hated it. It's sloppily, poorly conceived. It's BORING. DULL. Cruising a work of art? A pre-teen zit in my world. The end with the wife trying on Pacino's biker jacket and glasses, etc is truly ridiculous, a perfect ending to a very ridiculous movie.

You can have Cruising all you want and I'm perfectly happy with Un chant d'amour (prison sex), Scorpio Rising (bikers' orgy of sex and death), Pink Narcissus (sublime public restroom sex ending in a typhoon wave of cum), Mala Noche (lust for illegal immigrant minors), Desperate Living (leatherslaves leaving pecker trails on Queen's gown) and so many others.

I watched Morocco and Blonde Venus (Marlene Dietrich Glamour Collection) last night and I've been, in HerrSchreck's words, "reduced to some kind of gelatinous substance" since then. I'd rather spend time with films like them, they made me feel ever more joyous to be a lover of cinema.. and not only that, also to be alive to have experienced art like the Sternberg films. Cruising, on the other hand, actually made me feel embarrassed for cinema. That's how I feel. Nothing to do with the influence of others and I'm very open minded. Cruising is actually one of faves of my writer friend Scott Heim (Mysterious Skin) so go figure. For movies depicting the ugly underbelly of 70s NY, Maniac is the way to go.

greggster59
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm

#53 Post by greggster59 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:25 am

Fron the DVDTalk.com review: "Exorcising Cruising (22:29), begins by talking about the look of the film, how they went for a monochromatic look, and how the gay community became very aware very quickly that this movie was being made. One side of the community was involved in the making of the film, but as the movie was being made, another side of that community became very, very upset about the picture and started protesting the film in the press and publicly. Protests got to be so loud and so close to the film as it was being shot that the sound tapes were being ruined, and some activists actually went so far as to sit across from the shoot with mirrors and reflectors that they used to ruin the lighting. As a result, there had to be three hundred cops on set while this was being filmed."

I remember the local news channels in NY covering the protests on a daily basis while the shoot was going on. I seem to recall that you could hear some of the whistle blowing going on outside by the protesters during a few of the club scenes when it was in theaters.

I didn't like the film and really don't want to see it again but I was wondering if any of the extraneous audio is audilbe on the DVD?

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MichaelB
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#54 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 23, 2007 6:56 am

greggster59 wrote:I didn't like the film and really don't want to see it again but I was wondering if any of the extraneous audio is audilbe on the DVD?
As far as I can make out, the soundtrack ended up being pretty much entirely post-synched (this is particularly obvious if you're listening to the film through headphones, as I was last night). This creates a weirdly dislocating effect, given that Friedkin was presumably striving for some kind of shot-on-location documentary feel.
davidhare wrote:Somebody came and went here (and wiped up of course) about a year ago in a briefly curious mode about SM material generally in movies - I think apart from Stroheim (very explicit), Bunuel (simple foot and shoe fetishism) and Pabst (buried almost to the point of unconsciousness, but that's Pabst really) I can barely detect it as a major sexuality, apart from bubbling under - well, they're all gay - directors like Genet and Anger.

Sternberg is maybe one other (with Herbert Marhsall inevitably as the M to Dietrich's S.) But not much more....
Jan Å vankmajer is another, if Conspirators of Pleasure (especially) and Lunacy are any guide. (He's definitely not gay)


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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Cruising

#56 Post by Matt » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:07 pm


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life_boy
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:51 pm
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Re: Cruising

#57 Post by life_boy » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:04 pm

I caught up with this unfortunate film and it's a total dumpster fire. As a thriller, it is bland and ambiguous. As a character study, it is shallow and inconsistent (why do we not meet the character until nearly 30 minutes in if it is really about him?). As a document of a time and place, it felt very insincere. As an allegory, it was hindered by dishonesty and prejudice. Even Pacino looks lost in this film, and I sensed a real hesitancy (either from him, Friedkin or the studio) to keep his character from "going too far." I guess asking for a sympathetic character from William Friedkin was a fool's request anyway, but the whole film is depressed, cold, dispassionate and even cruel. As the film progresses, Friedkin grows bored with the whole thriller structure he had started and decides to subvert all of that by tossing in some pop-psychology about the kid's father, inferring the reasons for a killing spree and then, inexplicably, tries to makes Burns either a killer or the killer (or is it the jealous green undies boyfriend...or...who cares).

In regards to the representation of S&M subculture, it felt like an outsider peeping in a window for a moment, making some conclusions about what was briefly seen and then passing it off to people outside-the-know like he had gone into the place and walked around for a while and then asking the people inside-the-know not to be mad that he stretched the truth. As David Ehrenstein pointed out, the whole narrative is built on a flimsy (at best) premise and the only endearing images (I think I will retain them only for their surreal absurdity) is the jockstrap/cowboy hat clad giant slapping Pacino around and Karen Allen putting on the shades at the end. I'm ready to watch something else and forget that I watched this.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
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Re: Cruising

#58 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:46 am

James Franco's film 'about' Cruising, Interior. Leather Bar. is pretty problematic. Too much time spent on the actor taking the Pacino role feeling conflicted about being in a 'sex film' and needing to be cajoled by the rest of the cast and Franco into sticking around. The whole film is done in a drama-documentary style, but seems rather staged even in the verite portions, so I'm not entirely sure if this guy's qualms were real, a comment on the reticent character of the undercover cop in the Cruising film, or just a way of adding manufactured drama to an otherwise rather boring film. The main chap does have a 'the lady doth protest too much' attitude, going on about being married and definitely not being gay at every opportunity!

I ended up feeling as if the interview segments were reality TV staged (especially the telephone discussion with the actor's agent, who warns him that he will be associated with *shock* pornography if he goes through with his job!), and most damningly it didn't really have much to say or critique about Cruising.

I like the idea of trying to 'reclaim' the idea of a gay S&M club from a heterosexual director's idea of it as being the ultimate cave of darkness and violent depravity (see also Irreversible, which also suggests that this production isn't getting at anything Cruising specific and could more profitably have been a film about attitudes behind the imagery rather than the imagery itself), but this 'documentary' climaxing by just showing a couple of willing actors going at it on a couch watched by the conflicted Pacino-substitute does end up just feeling like an average stag reel!

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: Cruising

#59 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:32 pm

That one's been taken down, but SCTV now has it's own station on Youtube.
Here's the Official SCTV Channel version,
Unfortunately it is the rebroadcast of the skit (after SCTV became an NBC property) & looks to be cut short.
The original skit (when SCTV was an independently distributed show) used The Eagles' song "Disco Strangler" & was if I remember correctly funnier & a bit more risque ie. slathering the turkey with Crisco after pulling the chains to separate its legs (or maybe I'm confusing it with the Cooking With Edith Prickley skit where she prepares a turkey while singing "Macho Man" to the syncopations of her Rhythm Ace rhythm machine).

As far as the James Franco film goes, I haven't seen it in its entirety, but from the bits I saw online, it just doesn't look to work. It seems to take some relevant issues about the film & reduce them to padding for a rather gimmicky film & because of that, I haven't really been very eager to see it. It looks to capitalize on the sensationalism of gay s&m everybit as much as Cruising did. I would much rather see a documentary around both the protests that surrounded the film while it was shooting, interviews with Friedkin on how that influenced his final cut of the film, the film's reception & boxoffice etc., since Cruising was such a mobilizing force for the gay political movement. Of course Vito Russo covered some of this topic in The Celluloid Closet , but it's been a while since I've seen how much of the issue is covered in the movie version of the book. Vito was still a bit unidimensional (good/bad....and Cruising was for him the worst) in his views of gay representation on film up until he passed away (1990), but that was before the gay film boom of the 90s & eventual crossover into mainstream film from the 90s on.

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domino harvey
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Re: Cruising (William Friedkin, 1980)

#60 Post by domino harvey » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:35 pm

Yeah, the version I posted was a VHS rip of the original and it was unbelievably filthy (there were def fisting jokes, you're remembering the Crisco correctly). Hopefully it pops up again soon

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colinr0380
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Re: Cruising (William Friedkin, 1980)

#61 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:51 pm

The most amusing part of Interior. Leather Bar is where the 'worried Pacino guy' interviews some of the younger members of the cast asking them about Cruising, and most seem to have never heard of it, let alone having an opinion as to the messages of that earlier film! There is a long sequence of the 'Pacino chap' talking to another guy in the makeup chair (getting dressed up in drag, but who the actor is relieved to find out is straight) about what exactly the film is about, and that it is something to do with Cruising, which neither of them appear to have seen, and then they bond over their favourite Pacino role, which turns out to be The Panic In Needle Park!

Most damningly when James Franco himself gets cornered and interrogated about the film, he also seems to be a little unsure as to the reason for doing it. It seems to be some sort of empowerment and reappropriation of imagery, yet it doesn't seem to really be a particularly furious statement about or enquiry into the Friedkin film, and the actor goes away just as baffled as before! No wonder he goes to telephone his agent shortly afterwards, suspiciously captured by an unseen camera crew! It certainly suggests that whatever greater meaning the filmmakers were trying to get at with their film, they didn't really communicate it to their cast very well (who could have helped to put whatever intended message across, however confused), let alone the audience! Perhaps that muddled incoherence of character psychology is intended to be the main way Interior. Leather Bar connects with Cruising, although that might be being too charitable to Franco's film!

EDIT: On watching the interviews with the director and Franco, apparently the above was seriously intended. The interviews were quite interesting, especially hearing more about their experience with Cruising and reasons behind wanting to make the film, which is something that comes across in more of a muddled fashion in the film itself. Both Franco and Travis also make convincing arguments of the worth of Cruising as a film that, however problematic its message, at least captured a certain milieu from a long past era, although that also makes the idea of doing an ersatz recreation of the leather bar seem even more pointlessly futile! Perhaps a more daring (in the non explicit sex sense) and thoughtful film would have acknowledged that and critiqued its own futile creative aspirations?

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