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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 June 2011
This is an excellent presentation from the British Film Institute (BFI). It is a two film presentation of a lost `gay realist film'. That is `Nighthawks' and the follow up documentary which tells of the making of the film and is a kind of autobiographical confessional from the maker and star Ron Peck.

Nighthawks itself is the story of Jim, who leads a split life as a geography teacher in a comprehensive by day, and at night he cruises London's gay bars looking for Mr Right, or Mr Available. It is gritty and even though shot in colour it feels monochrome in places as the feel is so dated. That though is part of its charm, you can tell it is the 1970's, with fashion faux pas' a plenty, and some incredible hair styles. The cruising looks very seedy and I suppose it still can be.

The music was a special commission and is sort of pre electronic age electric music, that is a feature through out, and I have to admit I hated it. That however, did not detract from the strength of the film. It is part social and historical snap shot as Jim goes about photographing the waste areas of London.

Where the real interest lies is in the fact that this is the first `realist' gay film. It took Ron Peck and Paul Hallam a number of years and a lot of heart ache to make. This was an attempt to show homosexuals as neither camp limp wristed targets of humour, or victims. They are ordinary people with jobs, lives and are neither comic, caricature or monster. It deals with the transience of relationships on the `scene'. The pain and anguish of `coming out' and the social stigma attached to being a `poof' or `queer', or worse of all `one of those'. It's funny how society has so many terms for a state of being that has been both ignored, vilified, criminalised and derided. Sorry having a bit of a rant. The climactic scene where he gets outed at school is an excellent piece of cinema, and must have been very difficult to do.

The second film `Strip Jack Naked' is as I say earlier a `making of' with explanations, stories and details about those who were involved. I actually really found this a touching, honest and revealing film. Made some time later in 1990 it tells of the work Colm Clifford did to bring the original project to life and yet how his scenes had to be cut. There is a great chat up line, where he says `I have half a bed', I am goanna try to use that myself - it wont work though.

There is so much I liked about this, the tranny who looks like he has just left an audition from Monty Python, they all smoke, all the time, and they all kiss. I am sick of this not kissing rubbish, a bit of tongue never did no-one no harm as my old butcher use to say (might have been referring to meat, but that works too!).

Ron goes on to explain that thanks to Thatcher and the increasingly repressive rhetoric of the far right, that now `the personal became the political', and if anything that polarisation helped gay rights move on. Nighthawks was first shown in Germany in 1978 and got limited exposure. A point of interest is that the BFI refused to help Ron with financing his film. It is nice to see that they have belatedly made up for past errors. This pack contains an excellent booklet and loads of extras, which adds to the pleasure of this essential piece of cinema. If you are serious about gay cinema this is a must have, and if you like it then you will probably also enjoy the similar themed German `lost classic', `Taxi zum Klo' which has just been re released too.
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on 2 February 2015
Excellent, thank you
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on 6 May 2015
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on 15 November 2009
Nighthawks 2/Strip Jack Naked records the determination of the group of people involved to make and distribute this labour of ... let's call a 'queerly British love'. There's a child-labourishness-knocking-at-the-closet-face-door quality to the story telling. As an historical document, it can be compared and contrasted with its American offshoot, the Celluloid Closet - both were and are well worth it. Shown here was AND is, a peculiarly brave new world, what would a same themed project in the present day make of its environment I wonder, perhaps its time.
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on 5 May 2015
not for me
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on 13 October 2015
Utter Utter garbage. Dated and very badly produced.
Bin it for sure
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on 7 April 2009
Pay no attention to the misinformed 1-star review below. The BFI have done us a great service in bringing NIGHTHAWKS to Blu-Ray and DVD in such amazing editions. Aside from possibly Masters Of Cinema, I can think of no other label that would produce such lavish definitive editions for a title like this, and they deserve full marks for producing what so far is my Blu-Ray release of the year.

After all these years, NIGHTHAWKS remains one of the benchmarks of gay cinema and the new restoration looks fantastic. According to the booklet, director Ron Peck personally supervised all the transfers and worked directly with the BFI from the original negatives and the results are terrific.

But equally well-served are the extensive extras in this edition, including NIGHTHAWKS 2/STRIP JACK NAKED (my personal favourite film in the set, and key to further understanding the earlier film), WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MALE NUDE, EDWARD HOPPER, and a number of other short films and videos.

The earlier reviewer is right about one thing however, and that is that not all the films are offered on the Blu-Ray disc. And there is a very good reason for that, in that some of the films such as NIGHTHAWKS 2 were originally made on regular standard video formats in the 1980s - meaning making them HD would be pointless. These films are on the DVD disc that comes with the Blu-Ray and look as good as they ever will.

Did I mention the booklet? It's huge! And chock full of contributions from Ron Peck, new essays, vintage reviews, stills, posters and reprinted correspondence. There's also a great deal of material detailing the controversy NIGHTHAWKS was met with upon release. Very illuminating indeed!

Far from a rip-off, the BFI is to be applauded for making these films available again, for working with the director and the original materials, and for going to the expense of presenting all these films in the highest standard possible - on Blu-Ray no less! Bravo BFI!!
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on 6 February 2012
This is only my opinion but if I had seen a little of either dvd, I certainly would not have purchased them. Lots of talking, tea drinking and classroom scenes.There is one nude scene but if you blink, you miss it.
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on 4 October 2011
blink and you'll miss it though! from memory i think i'm in the scene with derek....

oh the memories of the nights when this was made... they were the days!
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on 12 June 2016
Club,pick-up-school....club,pick-up,school.....and so ad infinitum.A plotless film that starts at the beginning and goes to the middle and ends up back where it started .I so wanted to like this but the film committed the cardinal sin ,which for me spoils any film,it bored me.It may not bore others,of course.Nothing happens! I looked for redeeming features-very hard but could find none.Was the piece supposed to depict the monotony of everyday life? If so,then it succeeded magnificently but alas, I suspect this was not Peck's intention.Surely a film,however realistic it purports to be, should hold your attention to make it watchable.According to Peck in SJN the piece was originally much longer and had to be drastically edited and judging by the outtakes you see in the second film, I think the wrong bits were cut from the first.Peck also says they searched long and hard to find the right actor to play Jim.They ended up with the most bland uncharismatic person imaginable in the shape of Ken Robertson(Lord knows what the others he auditioned were like!).The difficulty I had here was that I just could not empathize with him.I simply couldn't have cared less about his plight.I understand that the film is semi-autobiographical but if your life is so boring why show it to the public?The second film,SJN, which puts the first into context, is a little more interesting since it's simply a documentary and there's no acting involved and Peck himself is a much more likeable character than Robertson.The whole tale ,though was far better told in the infinitely superior German film that came later-1982-Taxi Zum Klo and this was made by an amateur!
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