Tales of the City
Directed by Alastair Reid
Written by Armistead Maupin and Richard Kramer
Released January 10, 1994
360 min. • Find on imdb
Review by Stephen O. Murray
January 13, 1994.
The BBC production of Tales of the City buoyed me, though Olympia Dukakis has too much edge to be the life force Anna Madrigal, and the homages to Vertigo seemed pretty strained (especially Mary Ann sitting gazing at the portrait of Carlotta Valdez).
As in Maupin’s columns/novel, I sympathized with Brian and Dee-Dee (and the perplexed Lionel). I wasn’t expecting an Italian Brit (Marcus D’Amico with a lot of teeth) as Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, but he is effective as an attractive gay man who wants a lover. Meantime, he gets (Maupin’s fantasy?) of acceptance from a straight male less certain of what he himself is looking for. (Brian doesn’t know that he doesn’t have to look very far…)
How could I forget that John and Beauchamp had a bathhouse encounter? (As I remember the ’70s, almost everyone folded their towels in half before wrapping them around: the not folded-over towels struck me as historically inaccurate. And I thought poppers were kept in the freezer, not the refrigerator.)
Even Norman gets a scene in his underwear (Edgar and Anna get a discreetly covered bed scene). Startlingly to me, Michael gets out of bed with Jon wearing briefs (whereas Jon in the baths removes his towel before closing the door on the camera). Foreshadowing a later, more public appearing by Michael in his briefs? He also appears as an innocent satyr (showing off his formidable chest).
There’s no frontal nudity below the waist for anyone.
©1994, 2016, Stephen O. Murray
13 January 1994