Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jack Weston, F. Murray Abraham & Rita Moreno in The Ritz (1976)

Obscurity factor: 2

Today is pride day here in New York, and the last day of gay themed films here on the blog. I thought we'd go out with a bang. Gaetano Proclo (Weston) is running from his maniac mobster brother-in-law (Jerry Stiller) who wants to kill him. He ends up at The Ritz, a gay bath house, and in his naivete doesn't realize where he is. He starts to meet some of the other patrons and it begins to dawn on him. His first impulse is to just lock himself in his room and get some sleep, but it's too late for that. He has a chubby chaser (Paul B. Price) after him and the hilariously bad performer, Googie Gomez (Rita Moreno) from the basement nightclub thinks he's a big Broadway producer. On top of that, Michael Brick (an adorable Treat Williams) the detective his brother-in-law has hired has tracked him down and is searching the club for him - shirtless. The only person that can help is outrageous bathhouse queen Chris (F. Murray Abraham).

This film was based on a successful Broadway play by Terrance McNally Shot in London on a shoestring, it's become something of a gay classic and is extremely funny. Look for Kay Ballard as Jack Weston's wife.

The Ritz is recently available on DVD, and thank God, because it's a really funny film. The trailer is above, uploaded to YouTube by OurManInHavana.

Obscurity factor: 2 (recently revived on Broadway, known well in the theater & gay communities, on DVD, somewhat unknown by the general public)

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