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Outrageous (1977) - Richard Benner
[FR] [DE] [UK]

It sounds like a joke: a bashful drag queen and a young schizophrenic bring out the best in each other. Robin (Craig Russell) is a hairdresser who hasn't quite gathered the courage to get on stage and do drag. But when an old school friend named Liza (Hollis McLaren) appears at his door in a robe and nightgown, having just run away from a mental hospital where she was voluntarily committed, her manic energy gives him the strength to act on his desires. He in turn gives her a stable, loving home--until he goes to New York to audition for a drag show and his spot-on impressions of Bette, Barbra, Carol Channing, and Mae West make a splash. But as Robin's star rises, a pregnant Liza spirals into misery and madness. Outrageous may sound melodramatic, but in fact it achieves a rare realism. There's no Hollywood gloss on any aspect of their lives, from Robin's sex life to Liza's insanity, which is depicted sympathetically but not as anything easily overcome. Made in 1977, this Canadian cult film is admittedly a bit of a period piece--one look at Robin's audiences, filled with very '70s mustaches, will take more than a few gay men back to their heady, pre-AIDS-awareness days. But Outrageous remains heartfelt, and its sincere and charming performances make it worth seeing today. --Bret Fetzer for Amazon.com

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