Dir. Sidney J. Furie, 1964
A queer celebration of working-class biker culture
Bikers, who doesn’t find them sexy? They are free, unconventional, they make their own roads. And there’s the leather gear, or at any rate the body-hugging pants and blazers that keep the chill at bay. Most importantly perhaps, their know-how of all those mysterious mechanical bits seems to promise competence in every other department.
The early 1960s marked the reign of the Harley-Davidson and —on this side of the pond— the Triumph Bonneville. We’ve all seen the classic American biker buddy movie Easy Rider, an epic which defined a generation and a favourite film with the boys. Then there is the cheeky and often disturbing film Scorpio Rising, an obscure and experimental gay ode to bikers, directed by Californian queer underground hero Kenneth Anger. And now, we would like to introduce you to the third film in the gang, a quiet, modest, semi-mainstream British movie of the same period, which tends to be overlooked in gay film histories: The Leather Boys.
In the film, young biker Reggie is disappointed with married life, but fellow biker Pete is happy to provide the support and love that Reggie needs. In some ways, The Leather Boys is a film about marriage, and how it can artificially change people’s behaviour. In other ways, the film is concerned with gender, and the absurd expectations on women and men of a certain generation, who thought themselves free but were only repeating old patterns. The Leather Boys is also about friendship, and the support and loyalty which only comrades (whether they are our buddies or our spouses) can offer us. Of course, what we love most about the film is that this biker gang is a transparent metaphor for the gay community and for gay culture, thriving on the margins, beautiful, and proud. Also, we love the film’s suggestion that there is a ‘queer biker gene’ dormant in everyone, which may just awaken if you throw that damned GPS away.
About EVIL SEASON “MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW”
screenings @ 3:30 pm
doors open @ 3 pm
come early and join us in the foyer for free tea & coffee
Our schedule is subject to change due to availability of films from Film Distributors.
Our next season will offer you another exclusive selection of fantastic LGBTQ films which are either little known, or completely forgotten, or which have failed to get the attention they deserve. We are calling this season the “Evil Season: ‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know'”. After our roller-coaster Season Two, “Around the World in the 80s”, we are traveling back in time to the 1940s, 50s and 60s (we will be stopping in 1968, the year Stonewall changed gay history). In Season Three, we are going to take a look at some gloriously gay films from Hollywood, made under heavy censorship but managing to tell amazing queer stories in exciting new ways. By contrast, we will also look at the freedom of European films of the period, talking about homosexuality with a mater-of-factness which is often shocking.
Our next ten screenings are “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. That’s how Lord Byron was described by an ex-lover, and we are borrowing the tag for Season Three! The poet Byron, leading light of the Romantic movement in England and a hero of the Greek war of independence, was also famous for his sexual conquests, which did not discriminate between women and men. The writer Caroline Lamb —who after some resistance, succumbed to his charms — said of Byron that he was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. Of course, the aura of danger and lawlessness, and the rumours of depravity, made Lord Byron all the more alluring. His ‘wicked’ side was officially disapproved of, but it turned him into a sex symbol…
All our films for Season Three have one thing in common: they deal with evil — evil gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people, yes, but also with the curse of internalised homophobia, and with the horrors of a society that cant cope with black sheep. Some of our films have great gay baddies, other films pretend to condemn us so they can publicize gay culture, and others are about people who are dying for an opportunity to be “bad”. In short, in Season Three we will see some of the lesser known but most intelligent portraits of gay people ever created, we will laugh at society’s boring obsession with normalcy, and we will also celebrate evil. That’s right, we will embrace the “intrinsic evilness” that Mr Ratzinger finds so scary, and we will celebrate it. Because, lets face it, it has been a blessing for many of us — enriching our lives with excitement, fun, tenderness, friendship… not to mention some truly fantastic films!
Evil Season. It’ll be a thrill.
Cast and Creatives
Sidney J. Furie