1971 grade: 3.5 out of 5 stars
2016 grade: 2.5 out of 5 stars
The scratched and discoloured print we saw certainly makes the point abundantly clear: this is a rare screening of a mostly forgotten film from 1971 and with good reasons – viewed nowadays, the self-loathing and repressive nature of the clientele who visited a gay bar in Manhattan one Christmas Eve night makes the film feels not only dated but positively prehistoric. Whilst not unsympathetic, the many stories retold here are mostly on the tragic and melodramatic side. However, as a cinematic representation of how the gay scene was 45 years ago, it is a fascinating glimpse of a world where prejudices exist and certain liberties and rights that many of us now take for granted were missing. The film is no doubt flawed: from the over-sentimental and earworm music that throws subtly out the window, to the fact that too many characters and story threads inelegantly fight for space and trampling over each another; the film is hacked and assembled with little finesse. Some of the acting is fine but the rest is amateurish and uneven, with a fair amount of wood and ham littered around. As a social-cultural statement of a movie made on a pittance, it paints a bleak and unforgiving picture that might be difficult for a modern audience to stomach but it is nevertheless a product of its time, not to mention a brave attempt to put the spotlight on these marginalized people for the big screen way back then and deserves its place in LGBT Cinema.