12 September 2007

Scent of a Man: Al Pacino hunts a killer in New York City gay bars in Cruising

Y'all dunno about Cruising?! Seems its coming up in conversation quite a bit lately. Now Slate is all over it.

"The people at Warner Home Video must be giddy. Months ago, they decided to finally release Cruising on DVD and picked a Sept. 18 street date. The movie, directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection), stars Al Pacino as a cop investigating a string of murders in New York City's gay underworld. It touched off impassioned protests from the gay community when it appeared in 1980, and Warner perhaps hoped that memories of the controversy would stoke curiosity in the DVD. But never in their wildest imaginations could they have dreamed that just as the disc was hitting store shelves, the senator from Idaho would make cruising front-page news. Maybe now, thanks to Larry Craig, Cruising will at long last get its due.

Pacino plays Steve Burns, a rookie cop who goes undercover to attract a psychopath who has been butchering gay men in their late 20s. Burns rents an apartment in the Village and ducks into a gritty shop along the crowded Village strip, where he nods at a display of handkerchiefs. "What are these for?" he asks the store clerk. "Light blue hankie in the left back pocket means you want a blow job," the guy answers. "Right pocket means you give one. Green one: Left side says you're a hustler; right side, a buyer. Yellow one: Left side means you give golden showers; right side, you receive … See anything you want?" "I'm gonna go home and think about it," Burns stammers.

Before long, however, Burns perfects the Tom of Finland look and becomes a regular on the scene, cruising Central Park and the Village bars. But as the corpse count keeps rising, Burns is forced to find more suspects and seek out more intimate, and more dangerous, sexual encounters. In one bungled sting, his fellow cops discover him trussed up and nude on a hotel bed......"

Read the full article here

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