Friday, March 24th, 2023

The Leather Boys: the iconic British film reviewed by Bob Waltrip

TheLeatherBoysPosterThe Leather Boys

Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Written by Gillian Freeman

Released March 8, 1964
Drama (foreign)
108 min. • Find on imdb

Review by Bob Waltrip

published in Tangents magazine, December 1965.

Tangents December 1965

The Leather Boys, despite its unfortunate title, is a good movie that should be an inspiration to all who see it.

Miss Gillian Freeman’s excellent screenplay and Mr. Sidney Furie’s unobtrusive direction combine to bring us a wholly realistic portrait of a young woman [Rita Tushingham] and a young man [Colin Campbell] who get married and immediately discover that they have nothing at all in common.

A few weeks after the honeymoon the young man is bored with his new bride—even sexually. The groom moves in with a newly made friend [Dudley Sutton], and they spend most of the time roaring around the English countryside on their motorbikes. The friend is ready, at any moment to turn the relationship into something more serious than bedtime pillow fighting. A tug of war soon develops between the friend and the bride—with Our Hero as the prize.

Leather Boys
Rita Tushingham and Colin Campbell in The Leather Boys

What happens after that is about what one would expect. Oddly, this predictability is the movie’s greatest virtue. As we watch it, we say to ourselves, “If this were real life, such-and-such would happen next.” And, sure enough, it does.

Miss Tushingham is everyone’s worldly wise little sister. At one moment she’s the Supreme Bitch. The next moment she’s breaking your heart with her exquisite eyes. Her performance alone is worth the admission price.

Mr. Campbell and Mr. Sutton are quite fine. As an added treat, Gladys Henson turns in a magnificent performance as the young groom’s grandmother. If you’re tired of the “Gay Boys on a Lust Rampage” trivia of which most homosexual-theme films seem to consist, The Leather Boys is your very excellent, very mature cup of tea.

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