6.2/10
521
7 user 24 critic

American Swing (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 17 October 2009 (Japan)
Chronicles the rise and fall of 1970s New York City nightclub Plato's Retreat.

Directors:

,

Writer:

(based on an article by)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A documentary film about couples that swing.

Directors: Harry Gantz, Joe Gantz
The Big Swap (1998)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Five thirty-something couples decide to indulge in some friendly partner swapping with disastrous results for their marriages and friendship.

Director: Niall Johnson
Stars: Anthony Edridge, Sorcha Brooks, Richard Cherry
Swingers Sex Party (TV Movie 2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Five friends at a gathering to celebrate the upcoming marriage of two of them discuss sex, marriage and infidelity.

Director: J.W. McHausen
Stars: Jack Ketchmark, Christine Nguyen, Katrina Isis
Swingers (2012)
Short | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young and lonely girl meets an attractive young man while sitting on the swing set. As they begin to have fun together, the girl begins to notice something peculiar.

Director: Anthony M. Laura
Stars: Megan Schmitt, Jason Zednick
Zebra Lounge (TV Movie 2001)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A husband and wife, dissatisfied with their banal suburban existence, take a walk on the wild side one night with a couple they meet at the Zebra Lounge.

Director: Kari Skogland
Stars: Stephen Baldwin, Cameron Daddo, Kristy Swanson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A married couple, Mike and Tony, decided, in view of their strained relations in recent years, on a romantic trip to the mountains. Unfortunately, their car breaks down on the road and they... See full summary »

Director: Brigitte Berman
Stars: Scott Carson, Brandy Davis, Lorissa McComas
Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Kim is the wife of a mobster and she is very unhappy. Then when her ex shows up and they discover her husband's hidden money, they decide to steal the money and blame one of husband's friends.

Director: Jay Madison
Stars: Kim Sill, Jonathan Fraser, Jason Schnuit
4Some (2012)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two middle-aged couples are linked by more than just a lifelong friendship. While relaxing on a Caribbean island, they get an unconventional idea to enrich and, as a result, complicate their sexual lives.

Director: Jan Hrebejk
Stars: Jirí Langmajer, Marika Sarah Procházková, Hynek Cermák
Passion Lane (Video 2001)
Comedy | Drama | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A playful, open-minded couple invite six guests over for a weekend party of role playing and matchmaking.

Director: Lucas Riley
Stars: Amy Lindsay, Richard Neil, Monique Parent
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Maya and Bill think they're going to a party at the home of their best friends. Instead, it's just the four of them, and some very interesting suggestions on how to improve their sex life.

Director: Mary Thompson
Stars: Carrie Armstrong, Madison Bauer, Jeremy Flynn
Kesher Ir (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An estranged couple receives an unexpected visitor who throws everything in their family off balance.

Director: Jonathan Sagall
Stars: Dafna Rechter, Jonathan Sagall, Shmil Ben Ari
Short | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An oversexed party girl, Faira, wakes to a regrettable morning after that quickly goes from bad to worse.

Director: Kyle Downes
Stars: Catherine Annette, Craig Michaelson
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Bryce Britton ...
Herself
...
Himself (as Professor Irwin Corey)
William Davidson ...
Himself
Dan Dorfman ...
Himself
Donna Ferrato ...
Herself
Joe Franklin ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Dian Hanson ...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Steve Kraus ...
Himself
Larry Levenson ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (as Fred Lincoln)
Edit

Storyline

The parallel stories of Plato's Retreat, a Manhattan sex club for straight couples that operated from 1977 until the mid 1980s, and of Larry Levenson, the club's impresario. In present-day interviews, Larry's family talks about him, while writers, reporters, and clients talk about the club. Mixed with these interviews are still photographs and archival footage of the club, Larry's appearances on talk shows, and newspaper articles. By the late 70s, the club was in full swing, with talk of Plato's Retreats in other cities. By the end of the decade, tax problems had Larry in trouble with the IRS and changing mores gave the club a different vibe. Then AIDS became an epidemic. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

join the party See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 2009 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A swingkirály  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,174, 29 March 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$28,562, 12 April 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

References The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Am I Dreaming
Performed by Tiffany
Written by Jackie DeShannon (as Jackie De Shannon)
Published by NME Music Publishing Company
Courtesy of EMI Records LTD
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
raw but intriguing look at sexual liberation
24 May 2009 | by See all my reviews

Anyone who ventures into "American Swing" expecting to see a documentary on Benny Goodman is in for one hell of a rude awakening - and that's putting it mildly. For the "swing," in this case, actually refers to the "wife-swapping" phenomenon that swept through middle-class suburbia in the 1970s. And no figure did more to popularize that trend than Larry Levenson - the "King of Swing" as he came to be called - whose "live sex club," Plato's Retreat, located in Manhattan's Upper West Side, served as the epicenter for so much of the action.

Let it be stated right up front that this eye-opening documentary is not for the prudish or the easily offended, for its footage is graphic and its language raw, often akin in its look to crude 1970's porn. It takes us straight into the heart of a scene that became famous for its flagrant nudity, its unbridled group sex, and - if the eyewitness accounts are to be believed - its really bad food (apparently, the smorgasbord that kept bringing the people in was of quite a different kind!). Directed by Matthew Kaufman and Jon Hart, the film features interviews with many of the now-aging club regulars who happily regale us with tales of their personal escapades there. A number of celebrities who frequented the club, as well as certain reporters and broadcasters who covered the beat at the time are also interviewed.

"American Swing" is most interesting as a social document, showing how the "free love" ethos espoused by the hippies in the 1960's expanded into the mainstream a decade later. Suddenly, ordinary businessmen and housewives, truck drivers and longshoremen could partake in the life of the sexually liberated. In his own mind, Levenson sincerely believed that he was serving a salutary purpose with his club, providing couples who didn't want to be stuck in a monogamous relationship with a more honest alternative to "cheating."

It is not the intention of Kaufman and Hart to judge the people who took part in what Plato's Retreat had to offer, but neither is it their intention to shy away from some of the less savory consequences that eventually overtook many of them: principally, the diminution of romance, rampant drug abuse, and the spread of disease. In fact, it was the sudden appearance of AIDS in the early 1980s that brought the decade-long love-train to a screeching halt. That, along with Levenson's own troubles with the IRS (including time spent in prison for tax evasion) and possible dealings with the mob, is what eventually brought an end to the place - and to the era of licentiousness that helped to spawn it.

So, was Levenson a trailblazing sexual revolutionary who made it possible for otherwise ordinary middle-class people to live out their wildest fantasies? Or was he an emotionally stunted individual who cast away the mores of society in a bid to fulfill his own kinky desires and make a kingdom and a name for himself in the process? To their credit, Kaufman and Hart provide no easy answer to those questions, neither for the prigs in the audience nor for the libertines.

All same for the movie itself - for even though Levenson's life ends sadly, "American Swing" does not play out like the typical cautionary tale. For, in the end, we are left to reach our own conclusions as to whether Plato's Retreat was in reality a hedonistic paradise or merely a moral cesspool - or, indeed perhaps, a little of both.

The only thing you can really do is check out "American Swing" and make that determination for yourself.


31 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017