★★★★ | House Of Boys
The blurb and the cover on this DVD doesn’t do it justice. It gives the impression of some sleazy b-movie, lots of gyrating hips, few (if any) articles of clothing and even less of a plot line. This isn’t true!
In terms of the cast:
Udo Keir plays the Madame of the House of Boys, taking pleasure in performing on stage and be-hind the scenes, and ruling the house with a rod of steel – taking no prisoners.
Layke Anderon plays Frank with gusto. He takes to the stage well, gyrating in next to nothing, teasing the older clientele.
Benn Northover plays the role of the House favourite – Jake. A “straight” who does what he needs to get by, saving to escape with his girlfriend.
Various others pop up and provide colour to the storyline – the punk, the drag queens, the mother hen.
The other character missing from any film of the early 80’s soon raises its ugly head – AIDS. This film takes a serious turn when one of the characters is diagnosed with it, and highlighting the ignorance of the times. Kaposi Sarcoma is seen as a pimple, HIV still seen as a gay plague. Throughout it all though, you see love, tenderness and humanity. This film doesn’t aim to show the ignorance and hatred that was also rife at the time, instead it shows the best of us.
There are a few names and faces that pop up, Stephen Fry as a kindly and very understanding doctor, Joanna Scanlan as the hospital nurse… all making for a throughly enjoyable hour and a half (approximately!)