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An Englishman in New York (2009)

Not Rated | | Drama | 27 April 2009 (USA)
The later years of Quentin Crisp's life in New York City.

Director:

Richard Laxton

Writer:

Brian Fillis
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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Hurt ... Quentin Crisp
Denis O'Hare ... Phillip Steele
Jonathan Tucker ... Patrick Angus
Cynthia Nixon ... Penny Arcade
Swoosie Kurtz ... Connie Clausen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nick Adams ... Dim Man
Jeff Applegate ... Journalist
Silver Bramham Silver Bramham ... Orlando
Twinkle Burke ... Audience Member # 3
David Douglas David Douglas ... Audience Member # 5
Benjamin Eakeley ... Young Man (as Benjamin Eakley)
Alex C. Ferrill Alex C. Ferrill ... Audience Member # 1
Amy Gaipa Amy Gaipa ... Audience Member # 2
Robert Gomes ... Angry Gay Man
Craig muMs Grant ... DJ (as Craig 'muMs' Grant)
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Storyline

Following the success of his television biography The Naked Civil Servant (1975), Quentin Crisp (Sir John Hurt) is invited to America to lecture on How To Be Happy, and falls in love with New York City's more permissive ambiance. Agent Connie Clausen (Swoosie Kurtz) enables him to be a "resident alien", writing movie reviews and dispensing words of wisdom. Curious about but impervious to trends, he describes A.I.D.S. as a "fad, nothing more", actually to divert heterosexual anger, but he is misinterpreted and reviled by many gays. A return to popularity occurs when he helps Patrick Angus (Jonathan Tucker), a young, A.I.D.S.-afflicted artist attain fame for his paintings and his healthy cynicism is marketed by performance artist Penny Arcade (Cynthia Nixon), putting him back in the limelight. Poor health causes him to refuse a lecture tour of England, but he gives a triumphant final audience at a gay club in Tampa. A postscript informs that he died at the age of ninety-one. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Anglik w Nowym Jorku See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Leopard Drama See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| |

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Hurt also played this character in the television movie The Naked Civil Servant (1975). Quentin Crisp said of Sir John Hurt, that he was his representative here on Earth. See more »

Quotes

Quentin Crisp: Buying is more American than thinking.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in An Englishman in Brisbane (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rhythm Is A Dancer
Performed by Snap!
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User Reviews

 
Not another "Civil Servant"
28 December 2009 | by Igenlode WordsmithSee all my reviews

This film was definitely superior to the BBC's new "Day of the Triffids" adaptation (which was scheduled directly against it), but is not the dramatic equal of the original "Naked Civil Servant", with which it will inevitably be compared. I suspect the main cause of this is that the source material simply doesn't provide a lot of scope: when a story starts with its protagonist in his seventies and having finally gained acceptance and even celebrity, the time-span is inevitably somewhat short and there isn't a great deal more that can happen to him. Even in situations which could, and would, have been threatening to the younger Quentin Crisp, his elder statesman status effectively restricts the repercussions.

As a result, more or less the only 'plot event' of the film is the arrival of AIDS in New York, with even that seen largely through the effects on Crisp's career of a single dismissive quip (his reasoned attitude is that making too much of AIDS will only bolster public perception of homosexuals as disease-ridden outcasts, but this doesn't go down well among his target audience). Otherwise, "An Englishman in New York" consists largely of bons mots; little snippets of Crisp performing and delivering his famous lines, whether to an audience of one or to a small studio gathering.

That said, given the limitations of its material the film manages to pull off the difficult trick of its predecessor, presenting its deliberately flamboyant, over-the-top protagonist as a sympathetic human being whose pose we not only condone but find ourselves applauding. I generally shy away from 'gay issues', but find myself feeling here for the people he meets and the prejudice he encounters, both from them and on their behalf. In some ways, it is as hard to be a determinedly effeminate homosexual among the butch 'clones' of an out-of-the-closet New York as among the disapproving middle classes of pre-war England.

John Hurt does an excellent task in portraying the physical aging of the character, and of course it is a great bonus to have the same actor appearing in both films with a genuine generational time-lapse between them. It is just a truism that -- despite Quentin Crisp's much-repeated prediction that every year "things are going to get worse" -- happiness, as the proverb has it, simply doesn't make for such an enthralling story as do troubled times; and this is essentially a depiction of a man who has finally come to terms with the world, and it with him. As such it is well-meaning and pretty well executed, but not a particularly unmissable experience.

And inevitably it is less touching and less striking than its predecessor.


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