The show at the Baths was attended by over 800 extras, who included some of New York's elite. They were all paid $1.00 for their part and had to sign releases before they were admitted. The revue "Beyond the Fringe" was playing at the time and the astute viewer can see Dudley Moore and Peter Cook sipping a drink in the crowd. See more »
The City of New York and the Parks Department for their cooperation See more »
An (almost) charmless mess! Rent it, don't buy it...
While watching this I was faced with conflicting thoughts. I was a young man in NYC in the 70's, and had discovered the fabled Continental Baths a year previous to when this was released. The Continental was a ground-breaking establishment - up until then the majority of the bathhouses were Mafia-run, filthy, run-down and unsafe, and then Steve Ostrow took over the decayed health club in the basement of the Hotel Ansonia and turned it into a true pleasure palace - with original art (I remember a series of wicked Tomi Ungerer drawings and some early Plexiglass sculptures), great lighting, music, a juice bar - and a private elevator up to the roof sun deck. For me, just coming out, it was an exhilarating and liberating space to be in, where I could freely express my sexuality and begin to meet the rest of the community (that I'd barely knew existed).
So to see the few interior shots, and the shots of Greenwich Village as it looked in the 1970's was a treat - as was seeing a bunch of skinny men with so-so bodies and remembering that we didn't have to face the Gym Facists back then - it was enough of a wonder to just be young and queer.
On the other hand, the film is a shapeless mess, with a thin plot and an abrupt ending that I found infuriatingly simplistic and weak. Some of the acting's decent, (there's also an eerie Judy Garland turn by Caleb Stone and an all too brief glimpse of Jane Olivor performing), but the film feels partly like a pitch for the Continental (no surprise, as Steve Ostrow is listed as a producer and appears in a few scenes as well).
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