On his deathbed Carmine Vespucci's father tells him to "get Proclo". With "the hit" on, Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can't find him. He arrives at the Ritz, a gay ...
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A British mercenary arrives in pre-Revolution Cuba to help train the corrupt General Batista's army against Castro's guerrillas while he also romances a former lover now married to an unscrupulous plantation owner.
On his deathbed Carmine Vespucci's father tells him to "get Proclo". With "the hit" on, Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can't find him. He arrives at the Ritz, a gay bathhouse where he is pursued amorously by "chubby chaser" Paul B. Price and by entertainer Googie Gomez who believes him to be a broadway producer. His guides through the Ritz are gatekeeper Abe, habitue Chris, and bellhop/go-go-boys Tiger and Duff. Squeaky-voiced detective Michael Brick and his employer Carmine do locate Gateano at the Ritz, as does his wife Vivian. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Sweet and hysterically funny film based on a hit Broadway play by Terence McNally,THE RITZ is a 1970s New York City bath house. Into this asylum of loony characters comes Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston), a man in disguise running from his hateful brother in law (Jerry Stiller).
Weston immediately meets up with several crazy gay men and gets involved in a show. Chris (F. Murray Abraham) decides to show him the ropes but things get manic when a chubby chaser (Paul B. Price) sets his heart on Weston. In the meantime, Stiller has a sent a naive detective (Treat Williams) to find Weston. Amid the confused identities and chases in and out of rooms, we also meet the immensely untalented Googie Gomez (hysterically funny Rita Moreno) who sings at the clubs, hosts the talent show, and is always on the lookout for a big-time producer. Of course Weston and Williams assume she's a male transvestite.
Stiller soon arrives and starts shooting up the place, but he's followed by his wife (Kaye Ballard) who is assumed to be a man! Stiller and Ballard arrive as the talent show opens with Moreno fracturing lyrics in Puerto Rican as she sings "Everything's Coming Up Rose's" and "Begin the Beguine." Moreno specializes in show tunes since she was fired from both "The Sound of Music" and "Camelot" by the infamous producer Seymour Pippin.
Everything comes to a head when Weston, Price, and Abraham disguise themselves as the Andrews Sisters to hide from Stiller. They mime a funny "Gay Caballero" number and bring down the house.
Many of the stars here were in the original Broadway production: Moreno (who won a Tony Award), Weston, Abraham, Stiller, Price, and the chorus boys (John Everson and Christopher J. Brown). And along with Williams and Ballard, we also have Bessie Love (Maurine) and Dave King (as Abe) co-starring. And look for John Ratzenberger (TV's "Cheers") and Peter Butterworth and Leon Greene (both from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum").
Although the film takes place in a gay bath house, the film is extremely funny and not offensive. This is a sweet, pre-AIDS gay comedy with a terrific cast.
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