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The Leather Boys1964

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  • 4.0
Schoolgirl Dot and mechanic Reggie marry too early and quickly discover that adulthood is not nearly as much fun as expected. She's a social gadfly and he's a stick-in-the-mud homebody, and they bring out the worst in each other. Mere months after exchanging vows he moves out to care for his grandma, inviting his new mate Pete to bunk with him; but Pete's interest in Reggie, as we learn, is more than just friendly.

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1 member likes this review

A breakthrough film for 1964 and never heard of it before Fandor. Great acting, engaging, fast-paced, tight, well-directed, great script and I guess the US dysfunctional family was imported directly from England in 1607 and 1620 lol. My impression is how much of a trap capitalist civilization is for human lives. I would have liked a happier ending for The Leather Boys, however. ANd boy do England and Scotland look dreary in winter.

170548.small
top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

170548.small
top reviewer

A breakthrough film for 1964 and never heard of it before Fandor. Great acting, engaging, fast-paced, tight, well-directed, great script and I guess the US dysfunctional family was imported directly from England in 1607 and 1620 lol. My impression is how much of a trap capitalist civilization is for human lives. I would have liked a happier ending for The Leather Boys, however. ANd boy do England and Scotland look dreary in winter.

1 member likes this review

This is one of the greats from the era of early queer cinema, which for the most part comes across as a fairly typical working-class drama of young love and a couple incapable of managing the realities of early married life. Rita Tushingham is perfect as the rather spoiled and self-centered young wife Dot. There are some great comic moments, such as Dot fussing with her hair during one particularly explosive row and certainly in every scene she shares with her mother, played by Berry Marsden. But, there are also moments when Tushingham is heartbreakingly real and she beautifully underplays moments of hurt and confusion. Colin Campbell as her young husband is especially good playing both leather clad tough guy and a young man who is not able to articulate his feelings to his wife or to his best mate, Pete (Dudley Sutton). When Dot and Reggie’s marriage begins to fall apart due to the realities of housekeeping, beans, and bed death, Reggie moves out of the marital nest and into the home of his recently widowed grandmother, played by Gladys Henson who contributes yet another terrific performance to this film. He brings along Pete and most of the film is focused on their friendship and their plans to run a race to Edinburgh and back together. It becomes clear as the story progresses that Pete would be more than happy if Reggie never went back to Dot and the two of them would be free to move away to New York City - where, presumably, they’d continue to share the same bed. It isn’t made clear whether their relationship is ever sexual, however in the 1961 novel by Gillian Freeman upon which this film is based is much less demure in answering that question. Any lingering questions about Pete’s sexuality are answered in the film’s final scenes, but what makes this a particularly fine early example of the genre is that though Pete’s character is unmistakably gay- it is written and played without resorting to stereotypes of camp queen or suicidal closet case. And at the end of the film, there’s real sadness as Reg heads back to his life with Dot in London and Pete stands in the distance outside the quayside bar watching Reg literally walk out of his life.

1 member likes this review

This film is remarkable not only for the queer subtext of its protagonists, but also for the intimate view into working class life in post-War Britain and the subcultures that arose from the shattering of social structure and mores. The film has a dreary look to it, but that's part of the charm of the characters. They have pluck and don't let their mundane surroundings keep them down. Sidney Furie gave us a glimpse into what the real Britain was like at the time of early Beatlemania, a Britain that has been lately subsumed by a globalized corporate structure. At the very least, the graphic signage alone in the film is worth a look. Check out Rita Tushingham in the equally grim A Taste of Honey. Smiths fans will recognize dialogue as direct links to Morrissey lyrics. And Tushingham was featured on many LP covers for the band.

love my subculture films....this one was smashing!!!!

why isn't this film more highly regarded? fast pace, good script, top notchacting and a peek into a window of time when things were so very different, very subtle nuances make it all the better of movie.

Superb