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Torch Song Trilogy (1988)

Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as the unsinkable Arnold Beckoff in this film adaptation of the smash Broadway play TORCH SONG TRILOGY. A very ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Eddie Castrodad ...
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Charles Pierce ...
Axel Vera ...
Benji Schulman ...
Nick Montgomery ...
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Kim Clark ...
Stephanie Penn ...
Geoffrey Harding ...
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Storyline

Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as the unsinkable Arnold Beckoff in this film adaptation of the smash Broadway play TORCH SONG TRILOGY. A very personal story that is both funny and poignant, TORCH SONG TRILOGY chronicles a New Yorker's search for love, respect and tradition in a world that seems not especially made for him. From Arnold's hilarious steps toward domestic bliss with a reluctant school teacher, to his first truly promising love affair with a young fashion model, Arnold's greatest challenge remains his complicated relationship with his mother. But armed with a keenly developed sense of humor and oftentimes piercing wit, Arnold continues to test the commonly accepted terms of endearment--and endurance--in a universally affecting story that confirms that happiness is well worth carrying a torch for. Written by Michael Braem

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It takes a lot of guts and a helluva sense of humor to live life in Arnold's shoes.

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

14 December 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Kuckucksei  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$4,865,997 (USA)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the movie, when Alan first wakes up in Arnold's house and sees the kitchen, he notices some inanimate rabbits as decoration. In a 1983 interview in Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy dressing room, he points out his own rabbit collection he's accumulated because people kept giving him rabbit themed gifts. This is one of the many nods in the movie to Harvey's own life and his similarity to Arnold. See more »

Goofs

Arnold hires a car service to take him and Ma to the cemetery, and the car is seen waiting for them. But when Ma storms off and leaves in the car, it's not the same driver that brought them to the cemetery. See more »

Quotes

Murray: [to Arnold, who has shut himself off from any intimate contact after the death of his lover] Alan died, honey - not you.
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Connections

References The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

Soundtracks

'S Wonderful
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Joe Williams with Count Basie and His Orchestra
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User Reviews

A great movie from a wonderful play
3 November 2000 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Torch Song Trilogy is so called because its acts were originally presented one-by-one, months apart, at the off-Broadway La Mama Theater. It is done with a sparse set and few props, letting the incredibly funny, amazingly touching script fuel the play.

The movie version is done much more realistically, and it works! Things that are merely discussed in the play are shown to viewers. The cast is wonderfully realistic (Brian Kerwin is a bit stiff, but it works for the character of Ed.) and the script is just as good as the stage play. So many books and plays are adapted into something that is barely recognizable, but Fierstein makes his own script into something even more special.

The story benefits from the larger scope allowed by the movie.

We get to SEE the drag club, the bars, Arnold's (bunny-motif) apartment, Ed's country house and other locations merely hinted at in the play. The scenes that take place during and after the visit to the country house are somewhat confusing on stage, performed in a huge bed, but are beautifully edited in the movie. Best of all is Arnold's best friend, Murray, only talked about in the stage production. But in the movie, he's brought to magnificent life by Ken Page, filling the screen with his usual warmth and wit.

Harvey Fierstein has said that he hopes TST is like an Indian dress, made beautiful by all the little mirrors that decorate it. And truly, it is seeing and hearing *ourselves* that makes this script sparkle. You don't have to be a female impersonator to understand love and loss and laughter. This is NOT just a movie for gay men.


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