The Boy Friend (1971 film)

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The Boy Friend
"The Boyfriend" (1971).jpg
Directed by Ken Russell
Produced by Ken Russell
Harry Benn
Written by Ken Russell
Based on the musical by Sandy Wilson
Starring Twiggy
Christopher Gable
Max Adrian
Tommy Tune
Brian Murphy (actor)
Barbara Windsor
Vladek Sheybal
Music by Peter Maxwell Davies
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by Michael Bradsell
Distributed by MGM-EMI (UK)
Release dates December 16, 1971
Running time 137 minutes (original)
109 mins (US)
Language English
Budget $3 million[1]

The Boy Friend is a 1971 British-American musical comedy film directed by Ken Russell and starring Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Tommy Tune, and Max Adrian with an uncredited appearance by Glenda Jackson.[2] It is an adaptation of the musical The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson. It was released on DVD on April 12, 2011.


A struggling theater company in a small seaside town in Britain is performing "The Boy Friend", a musical concerning romantic intrigues and hyjinx amongst a Finishing school for young women in the 20s. The routine of backstage drama and audiences smaller in number than the actors is offset when two events happen at the same performance: a famous film producer (Vladek Sheybal) arrives to see the show, and Polly, the mousy Assistant stage manager (Twiggy) is forced to go on when the leading lady fails to show. As Polly struggles to keep her cool while acting opposite the actor (Gable) she secretly loves, the rest of the company backstab each other trying to impress the impresario.



Dan Ireland thought Russell was motivated to make the film in response to the controversy of The Devils (1971).[1]


Head of MGM James Aubrey ordered 25 minutes be removed from the movie for its US release.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

  • Roger Ebert wrote, "Even when he’s not deliberately doing Berkeley takeoffs, (Ken Russell's) camera is so joyless that it undermines every scene."[3]
  • The New York Times wrote of the film, "I am surprised to find that it is rather greatly to my taste; partly because it is often as witty as it is elaborate, partly because it works its variations on the fully recognizable and still quite wonderful Sandy Wilson words and music, and partly because it is supported by a charming and energetic cast."[4]


  1. ^ a b c Dan Ireland on The Boyfriend at Trailers From Hell accessed 2 August 2012
  2. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | The BOY FRIEND (1971)". 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  3. ^ Jordan, Scott (1972-02-08). "The Boy Friend Movie Review & Film Summary (1972)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  4. ^ Greenspun, Roger (1971-12-17). "Movie Review - The Boy Friend - Film: 'The Boy Friend':Twiggy Plays Polly in Russell Screenplay". Retrieved 2014-03-08. 

External links[edit]