Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

ALEXANDER: THE OTHER SIDE OF DAWN

Leigh McCloskey
ALEXANDER: THE OTHER SIDE OF DAWN (1977 telefilm). Director: John Erman.

Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, a telefilm aired in 1976, was a ratings success, so it was decided to come out with a sequel. Alexander Duncan (Leigh McCloskey), who was introduced in the first film as young prostitute Dawn's (Eve Plumb) boyfriend, is thrown out by his family (who can't afford to feed him) and winds up in L.A., where he, too, sells his body. Then he meets a closeted football player, Chuck Selby (Alan Feinstein), and begins to bond with him. But are they only just using one another? ... Alexander is a dishonest, superficial, ersatz "gay" movie where the lead character has sex with men but is supposedly straight. The scenes with him getting into cars with men, and his exact relationship with Chuck, are glossed over, and the "happy" ending doesn't seem to resolve Alexander's conflicts over his sexuality. Made for television in the seventies, it would have been a surprise that so much of the gay content made it to broadcast were it not for the fact that the far superior and much gayer That Certain Summer aired five years earlier. In this Alexander attends a rap session in a gay center, and goes to gay bars with Chuck (ever dreaming of sweet if drippy Dawn). Eric Holliman portrays a sympathetic gay counselor, and there are nice vignettes from Larry Rosenberg and Jonathan Banks [Wiseguy], among others, as young men at the center. Holliman's character says that he believes in people making their own choices, although nowadays it is not being gay that is considered a choice, but accepting oneself. McCloskey was actually twenty-two when he played this seventeen-year-old character, and while at times he seems a little too sophisticated, he gives a good performance. Holliman [The Power] is fine, as is Feinstein, although Chuck's dallying with a seventeen-year-old and getting him to go off and buy drugs for him, is problematic. Jean Hagen [No Questions Asked] scores as a landlady who's seen better days and has a picture of herself as "Miss Newcomer" of the Year on her wall, and Asher Brauner is also notable as a friend of Alexander's who gets him into hustling wealthy women, such as  Juliet Mills (these scenes have little veracity, frankly). Lonnie Chapman and Diana Douglas are effective as Alexander's parents. Miss Frances Faye plays herself and is apparently female, although in the film she comes off like a drag queen.

Verdict: The sequel, "Alexander Moves to New York and Comes Out," never materialized. **.

2 comments:

angelman66 said...

I remember seeing this all those years ago as a kid. I was titillated...almost like a made-for-tv exploitation film...Eve Plumb barely made a cameo in this one, as I remember. Leigh McCloskey was verrry attractive, as I remember.

I am a HUGE fan of Miss Frances Faye...the first out-lesbian cabaret entertainer, as i remember...have you ever heard her live album?...it's AWESOME!
-Chris

William said...

Miss Faye is new to me; I'll have to look her up; now I know why she was in the movie, and I'm a bit embarrassed I said she was like a drag queen, ha! McCloskey was cute and is still a good-looking man judging from an interview he did on the "Inferno" DVD.

Chris, thanks so much for reading and for your comments; they are very much appreciated.

I want to see some more posts on Angelmann soon!