In 1975, John Hurt starred in a BBC television adaptation
of Quentin Crisp's autobiography THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT,
playing the flamboyantly gay author and actor, and in 2009
Hurt revisits the role in this comedy-drama based on the latter
years of Crisp's life.
Crisp rose to fame in the UK following the publication of
his memoirs and the success of a one-man show, but when a
series of typically frank but witty quips during an interview
lead to a public scandal, Crisp is approached by an American
talent agent, Connie Clausen (Swoosie Kurtz), who says she
can get him work in the United States. Crisp relocates to
New York City, where he stages a show entitled 'How To Be
Happy' and gains a new audience. However, the high camp of
Crisp's persona and his habit of making deliberately provocative
statements (such as calling AIDS 'a fad' and calling homosexuality
'a terrible disease') earns him the enmity of some gay activists
and causes the show to close prematurely.
Clausen arranges for Crisp to meet Phillip Steele (Denis O'Hare),
the publisher of THE VILLAGE VOICE, and Steele offers Crisp
a job as the paper's new film critic. Crisp's witty and acerbic
commentary on new movies wins him a new fan base and he and
Steele become close friends, but as age and broken relationships
begin to take their toll on Crisp, he returns to the stage
in a new show created in collaboration with performance artist
Penny Arcade (Cynthia Nixon).
AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK received its world premiere at the
2009 Berlin International Film Festival; the film takes its
title from a song by Sting, who struck up a friendship with
Crisp when they both appeared in the movie THE BRIDE.
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Categories: Gay Cinema
Time: 123 mins, Year: 2009
Price: Around £10 on Amazon.co.uk*
Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco
This hot, cheerfully campy soft-core soap opera follows
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Michael, Tracy Scoggins, and Nadine Heimann.
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