7.7/10
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50 user 26 critic

The Boy Friend (1971)

When the leading lady of a low-budget musical revue sprains her ankle, the assistant stage manager is forced to understudy and perform in her place, becoming a star and finding love in the process.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

Ken Russell (screenplay), Sandy Wilson (musical)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Twiggy ... Polly
Christopher Gable Christopher Gable ... Tony
Max Adrian ... Max
Bryan Pringle ... Percy
Murray Melvin ... Alphonse
Moyra Fraser ... Mme. Dubonnet
Georgina Hale ... Fay
Sally Bryant Sally Bryant ... Nancy
Vladek Sheybal ... De Thrill
Tommy Tune ... Tommy
Brian Murphy ... Peter
Graham Armitage ... Michael
Antonia Ellis ... Maisie
Caryl Little Caryl Little ... Dulcie
Anne Jameson Anne Jameson ... Mrs. Peter (as Ann Jameson)
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Storyline

The assistant stage manager of a small-time theatrical company (Polly Browne) is forced to understudy for the leading lady (Rita) at a matinée performance at which an illustrious Hollywood director (Cecil B. DeThrill) is in the audience scouting for actors to be in his latest "all-talking, all-dancing, all-singing" extravaganza. Polly also happens to fall in love with the leading man (Tony) and imagines several fabulous fantasy sequences in which the director is free to exercise his capacity for over-the-top visuals in this charming 1920's era flick. Written by Bliss Blood <soundex@sccsi.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EMI-MGM Presents The Return Of Entertainment See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 February 1972 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boyfriend See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Russflix See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (short UK) | (director's cut) | (US) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The screen rights for the film were originally bought by MGM producer Arthur Freed in 1967 for Debbie Reynolds to star. After Reynolds turned the part down, Liza Minnelli was briefly considered for the role of Polly Browne before Freed shelved the project to concentrate on his Irving Berlin revue, "Say It with Music" (which was never filmed). See more »

Quotes

Max: Do what Ruby Keeler would do!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ken Russell's Talking Picture See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1987 re-release by M-G-M/United Artists Classics restored 26 minutes that had been trimmed for the original theatrical release from director Russell's initial 134-minute cut. The longer version included two songs, "It's Nicer in Nice" and "The You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me Blues" as well as the seven minute Grecian bacchanal party fantasy. See more »

Connections

References An American in Paris (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Act II Finale: I Could Be Happy with You - Part I
Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson
Performed by Christopher Gable and Twiggy (as Twiggy Lawson)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprising Wonderful!!
14 April 2006 | by uncadonald39See all my reviews

Ken Russell's homage to Hollywood Musicals of the early years, while outrageous as usual, is remarkably enjoyable. It was ruined in its American release by MGM's James Aubrey's hack job--he cut almost 30 minutes out of the film. Not merely content to cut entire numbers, he laid his heavy hand on every single number and scene, eliminating 30 seconds here, 2 minutes there, until nothing had been spared his hatchet. His reasoning was that no one wanted to see a two and a half hour musical. Besides he could get another showing in if he cut it. Wasn't it a surprise when the film bombed in the States?! Elsewhere it was a smash hit. With the cut footage restored, the VHS print shows, particularly, the salutes to Busby Berkeley and other early musicals. Twiggy is charming; Tommy Tune as the giant American hoofer is wonderful; and Russell's "stock" company of English actors carry off the zaniness with just the right touch. Oh, please, release the Widescreen version on DVD. I need to use it to end my History of the Film Musical class.


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