Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1975. B.T.O. Films. Screenplay by Franklin Khedouri, David Buckley. Cinematography by Ralf D. Bode. Produced by David Buckley, Steve Ostrow. Music by Ronald Frangipane. Film Editing by Suzanne Fenn, Jackie Raynal. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Underground gay classic from the mid-seventies has certainly not aged well (to be fair, it wasn’t exactly born in perfect condition) but does have its charming throwback moments. The Continental Baths is the main touchpoint for a soapy drama about a handsome young man (Robert Aberdeen) from the Midwest who has moved to the Big Apple with his girlfriend to pursue his music career. He’s happy to land a gig playing piano at the baths thanks to the big money it promises, but he’s also tense about the unwanted attention from gay men that is sparking his own doubts about his masculinity. Boring scenes between him and the club’s promoter (Don Scotti) drone on until it’s finally Saturday night and it’s time to let the show begin: real performances with actual audience members as extras give a boost of energy to this otherwise dry film that captures the vibe of seventies gay life but, in focusing on a straight man (more or less), feels like a missed opportunity.