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Film distorts his life in America
on 29 January 2010
John Hurt as usual gives a superb performance as Quentin Crisp and should be applauded for it.
However this movie gives a very distorted view of Quentin's years in America.
Yes he did indeed cause a rift between himself and many in the gay community with his remarks about AIDS. However in the film the consequences of this are grossly exagerated. Quentin was never sitting in his room waiting for the phone to ring, or walking around New York alone and dejected. His shows weren't cancelled. Connie Claussen (His American literary agent) never stopped working with him. The two were inseparable friends, meeting once a week for dinner until Connie's untimely death at 74.
The character of Philip Steele in the movie is an amalgam of two of his closest friends, Phillip Ward and Tom Steele. Neither men ever refused to work with or spent time with Quentin (ever!).
In the film you are given the impression that the Philip Steele character was his only friend in those last years. Quentin had many, many friends, who met with him regularly.
In the movie you get the impression that the last show which Quentin did before his fatal trip to England was a one-off which he was glad to get. Nothing could be further from the truth. Quentin was extremely busy right up to the end. Even during the last few years of his life he appeared in over a dozen movies and travelled throughout America. On his nintieth birthday he started a six-week run at The Intar Theatre in New York and continued to perform his show throughout that last year of his life.
I understand that to make a movie interesting there has to be some kind of drama, some form of conflict/journey for the main character. But it is unfortunate that this movie took the path it did. It will give those who do/did not know Quentin a very false and distorted view of his last years in America and I fear will do his memory great harm.
A great pity!