The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He's assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out ... See full summary »
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The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He's assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out drag queen, Rocky, a quiet but cocky con, and Mona, a young gay man who ministers to Rocky. Smitty watches in horror as gangs of inmates brutalize prisoners who lack protection. Those who complain risk beatings or murder at the hands of unsympathetic guards: all cries are bootless. Mona offers poetry - Shakespeare's sonnet XXIX; Queenie and Rocky offer Smitty advice, and Rocky offers protection for a price. Smitty's choices and their consequences are the film's main subjects. Written by
Sal Mineo directed the 1969 Los Angeles production "Fortune and Men's Eyes and played the role of Rocky, a prison bully, who rapes a naive young prisoner, Smitty (played by Don Johnson in the L.A. production). Mineo's staging emphasized violence and sexuality. He added a scene to the play, staging Rocky's rape of Smitty in the prison shower, an event that had been kept off stage in earlier productions. The Los Angeles production, which was eventually moved to New York (without Mineo as an actor) featured full frontal nudity. Mineo also directed a subsequent San Francisco production. Although playwright John Herbert did not initially object to Mineo's alterations, he vociferously criticized Mineo's Los Angeles and New York stagings. (Being a convicted felon, the Canadian Herbert was unable to enter the U.S. to actually see the productions.) Herbert refused to sell him the film rights to his play, and the estrangement obviated any chance of Mineo being involved in the 1971 movie version of the play. See more »
'Fortune and Men's Eyes' is a film which I recommend as interesting viewing for anyone who wishes to watch an early story of important gay cinema.
It's author, the late playwright Jonhn Herbert, is an icon of gay writing.
This is a story based on John Herbert's own unfortunate true experience as an inmate as a teenager in a penal institution in Canada, wrongly imprisoned after being the victim of gay bashing. It is a play that later became a film.
I recommend that you watch this film despite the fact that it is old, to say the least.
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