Tuesday, May 03, 2022

The Choirboys

Are There No Nadirs in "Auteurism"?

In my visions of straw-men I can practically bring into focus what certain film-writers I admire probably think: There's a post-Hawksian quality to Robert Aldrich's 1977 The Choirboys that resituates male camaraderie in the broadly improbable terms of comic relief: a bulwark versus what, for all intents and purposes, amounts to a dramatic stalemate. See The Flight of the Phoenix, Twilight's Last Gleaming, The Choirboys...

Now that that's said, The Choirboys rankles as an hysterically homophobic, racist screed set in a morally corrupt California police department hellbent on exposing "perverts" and littering the streets and apartments with their corpses, under the guise of an institutional critique — which is always the cop-out, if you will. Charles Durning and Burt Young are excellent; fools in the cast include a leering James Woods and an intentionless Randy Quaid. As for the director himself: What is there to ask oneself but, This is the same man who made Kiss Me Deadly?


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