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Montreal Main (1974)

A photographer finds himself falling for a 14 year-old boy.


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Director: Frank Vitale
Stars: Charles Morgan, Frank Vitale


Credited cast:
Frank Vitale ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anthony Booth
Peter Brawley
Leonard Colfman
Maggie Gunston
Jackie Holden
Suzy Lake
Nye MacIukas
Pam Marchant
George Mckenzie
Esther Ormianer
G.E. Rogers
Anne Sutherland


In Frank Vitale's autobiographical study, he plays a photographer living among the assorted outcasts, junkies, and artists populating Montreal's Main. Quieter and more introspective than most of his friends, Frank becomes smitten by Johnny, a fourteen-year-old from the suburbs. But the relationship is doomed by the startling degree of hypocrisy and possessiveness that boils over among the group when they discover the intensity of Frank's feelings about the boy. Written by Daniel Yates <pkyates@compuserve.com>

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Release Date:

7 March 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boulevard Saint-Laurent Montréal  »

Filming Locations:

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CAD 20,000 (estimated)

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User Reviews

Glad I did not hit "stop" at 35 minutes
4 July 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Saw 7/2/16 by chance on YouTube, knowing nothing about it. Wanted to see a Canadian film after a good experience watching "The Luck of Ginger Coffey" (1964). "Montreal Main" relates what happens when Frank, part of a group of Montreal bohemians, forms a too-close attachment to a 12 year-old boy from the suburbs.

The material was handled in a mercifully oblique manner, but still, I was about to bail on what to me had been nothing more than Warholesque sloppiness – and then, after minute 35, as what might be called the film's second act began, I saw and heard the best matching of music, sound, and image since Hitchcock met Bernard Hermann. In just two and a half minutes, movie music perfection from Beverly Glenn Copeland, and achieved for a tiny fraction of the budget for one of today's banal scores. Rarely has a kid running away from home been presented on screen so effectively.

The movie imagined by Frank Vitale, Allan Moyle, and Stephen Lack fell into place at that point. There have been other movies that feature memorable musical moments, but in, for example, "La Noia" (1962), "Crazy Westerners" (1967), or "Wild on the Beach" (1965), they remain moments only and fail to breathe life into their movies the way Ms. Copeland's score does.

John Sutherland as the boy gives a very believable performance. There appears to have been little scripted dialog. The confrontation between Johnny's father and Frank works well enough to make it possible to forget the scenes where the improv shows too much.

The subject matter, low budget, and art house movie diction and grammar of "Montreal Main" will probably confine its audience to the purest of cinephiles. That is too bad for a film that for all its strangeness I found more involving than much of what floats along the motion picture mainstream.

Those who found "Montreal Main" rewarding may enjoy Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep"(1978), or "Adieu Philippine" (1962) directed by Jacques Rozier – if they haven't seen these movies already, of course.

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