Nighthawks (1978)

RON PECK

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB, 1978, Screenplay by , , from an idea by Ron Peck.  Cinematography by Joanna DavisProduced by Paul Hallam, Ron Peck.  Music by Production Design by Film Editing by ,

A London schoolteacher educates young minds by day and at night goes searching for love in the city’s gay bars, often meeting someone with whom he goes home. A softer version of Taxi Zum Klo, this groundbreaking effort in British gay cinema is notable for its strangely compelling series of wordy, dramatically inert scenes of people talking: when he’s not discussing his life with the female friend he makes at work (a relationship that the film presents with accuracy and warmth) Jim () is asking his trysts about their family life and they quiz him about the same thing. The intent is to not only entertain with the images of night life but to give gay characters the opportunity to be more than just exploitation figures: these guys pay bills and do laundry and have a variety of personalities and hangups to go with them, good for the intended audience and possibly enlightening for everyone else who might watch it. As much as Jim goes through quite a lot to find the right guy, he is also held responsible for his own behavior, frequently disappointed by guys who weasal their way out of a second date but giving a man who is interested in him as much of a runaround. It’s a sensitive and smart movie about finding a partner while having to deal with the closet (either personal or societal), then ends with an incredible scene of Jim educating his students about his personal life after they ask him a series of blunt questions about his sex life.

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