6.7/10
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New York City Inferno (1978)

Jerome, a Frenchman, arrives in New York from Paris with only one idea in mind: to find his lover Paul, 'swallowed' by the New York S&M gay life. Encounter after encounter, Jerome will delve into the leather pit... and find Paul.

Director:

Jacques Scandelari (as Marvin Merkins)

Writers:

Jacques Scandelari, Elliott Stein (idea) (as Eliott Stein)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain-Guy Giraudon Alain-Guy Giraudon ... Jérôme (as Christopher Dock)
Bob Bleecker Bob Bleecker ... Paul
John Houston John Houston ... Rex
Bill Grove Bill Grove ... Joe
David Charles David Charles ... Tom
Luke Morelay Luke Morelay ... L'oracle
David Barrow David Barrow ... Keith
Camile O'Grady Camile O'Grady ... Leather club performer
Dady La Flippée Dady La Flippée ... La fille au tatouage
Gay Rodger Gay Rodger
Keeson Keeson
Greg Christopher Greg Christopher
Mark Lexington Mark Lexington
Frank Bedford Frank Bedford
Vic Sheridan Vic Sheridan
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Storyline

Jerome, a Frenchman, arrives in New York from Paris with only one idea in mind: to find his lover Paul, 'swallowed' by the New York S&M gay life. Encounter after encounter, Jerome will delve into the leather pit... and find Paul.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adult | Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

14 June 1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Cock Tales See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before "Cruising" (1980) by William Friedkin, and "Interior. Leather Bar." (2013) by James Franco and Travis Mathews, this is the film that was the inspiration behind those films, "New York City Inferno" by French director Jacques Scandelari. See more »

Crazy Credits

Most of the actors took their credit names from Greenwich Village streets names. See more »

Connections

References A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

The morbid view: zombie-like sex
8 June 2019 | by lor_See all my reviews

One of the definitions of pornography includes "a morbid interest in..." which has linked the genre for me with that of Horror, though the two only occasionally overlap, particularly in sex films dealing with Satanic cults. This Jacques Scandelari movie shot in NYC takes an extremely morbid look at the phenomenon of cruising, resulting in a gritty if one-note artifact.

I have not been able to determine whether this was released in NYC theatrically at the time, it having been a French production for audiences back in France, with the usual outsider's view of America providing a certain "gee whiz" quality. The famous American film "Cruising" shot not long after by William Friedkin (though it had been a project earlier assigned to the more appropriate auteur Paul Morrissey fresh from his success working with Warhol) was made on my block at the famous gay leather bar "Rawhide", a corner location more recently turned into a clothing boutique. My connection with this movie is only peripheral, as I knew the late Elliott Stein who is credited with the story idea.

Watching the movie on DVD courtesy of Chicago-based distributor Bijou Video in a truncated 58-minute version retitled "From Paris to New York", I was struck by its monotone nature, underscored by poor print quality used for telecine transfer, making the visuals nearly black & white. Also noticeable is that the all-male cast of players nearly all sport bushy moustaches, except notably for a youngster who has interracial sex in a scene set in the "Ladies Room" at a club.

It's a quest tale, as Frenchman Jerome arrives in NYC in December 1977 at the old TWA terminal at JFK Airport (just recently reopened as a renovated hotel complex), in search of his lover Paul, and haunted by a sort of Dear John letter he's received in which Paul states he's not returning to Paris.

Jerome's non-adventures in the Big Apple, including atmospheric locations in the West Village, consist almost entirely of cruising for gay sex: anonymous, mechanical, uninhibited and presented without any emotion or communication. Typical of this approach is a striking Glory Hole scene, in which many studs line up to deep throat anonymous big dicks sticking out through holes in the wall. The actors, as in so many Gay porn movies back then and even today, appear utterly stoic, going through the motions of sexual passion like zombies or automatons. (Now that even Jim Jarmusch has stooped to making a zombie comedy, I'm waiting for the inevitable production "The Sex Life of a Zombie".)

I have always related this curious approach to a Warhol remark way back when that one of his favorite movies was the sci-fi "Creation of the Humanoids", a Saturday afternoon movie on TV staple I saw back in the '60s via a syndication package, and which captures for thematic reasons the same ennui and blankness of personality.

Unlike his more flamboyant films that I've seen: "Philosophy in the Bedroom" from the softcore era and the later "Flashing Lights", also set in NYC, "Inferno" is gritty and harsh, with the unsparing gaze of a documentarist observing these denizens of NYC night life in an almost Margaret Mead stance of curious but arm's length anthropologist. A non-stop musical score of familiar hits by the Village People does nothing to enliven this bleak mood.

By robbing the characters of their humanity and emotions (even the French lead playing Jerome is utterly stone-faced throughout, despite the obvious plot hook of his devotion to his friend Paul) the movie does not depict the Gays of that era fairly.

Of course, sensationalism sells and even sadly endures, as witness the DVD's coming attractions emphasizing John Waters as the ultimate expert on the subject. But the romantic porn of the '70s typified by Hand in Hand Films (also distributed currently by Bijou Video) more accurately shows the gay community in a better light.


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