Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Cruising' at 27: Heat, humidity, human sweat

Cruising, the politically incorrect gay S&M whodunit, still holds up -- 27 years after its first showing, the New York Times says today on the occasion of the film's re-release on DVD: "Al Pacino, still wreathed in the saintly idealism of Serpico, plays Steve Burns, a rookie cop who, in exchange for a fast-lane promotion, agrees to go undercover in the S&M bars of the meatpacking district in search of a psycho preying on gay men.

"Like all good noir heroes," the review continues, "he finds himself drawn to the killer he is tracking, an effect registered by [director William] Friedkin's deft use of tracking shots tied to Burns’s point of view. ("I like to watch," he says at one point.) The bars are portrayed as a kind of hell, photographed in a near-monochromatic black-and-blue color scheme [see photo, above], with an emphasis on heat, humidity, human sweat and sulfuric cigarette smoke. Though some scenes were fogged up to avoid censorship for the initial release, they are now presented as Mr. Friedkin shot them."

I remember two things about Cruising from when I crossed picket lines to see it back in 1980: It was way violent. And there was a molto-hot scene where Pacino's character fucks his wife (maybe it was a girlfriend) like there was no tomorrow.

[Photo: Warner Home Video, via NYT]

No comments: