Welcome to Director Watch! On this AwardsWatch podcast, co-hosts Ryan McQuade and Jay Ledbetter attempt to breakdown, analyze, and ultimately, get inside the mind of some of cinema’s greatest auteurs. In doing so, they will look at their filmographies, explore what drives them artistically and what makes their decision making process so fascinating. Add in a few silly tangents and a fun game at the end of the episode and you’ve got yourself a podcast we truly hope you love. On episode 31 of the Director Watch Podcast, the boys are joined AwardsWatch Editor-In-Chief Erik Anderson to discuss the latest film in their William Friedkin series, Cruising (1980).
Entering the 1980s, Friedkin is still reeling from the fall out of the box office mess of Sorcerer and the flop that followed it up with The Brink’s Job. But as we entered the new decade, right as we is able to become a mostly “director for hire” for the good chunk of the next two decades, Friedkin delivered one of his most talked about features in Cruising, which is about a police officer that goes undercover in the underground, S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer. After being approached by multiple producers to adapt reporter Gerald Walker’s novel, Friedkin became interested in the project after string of an unsolved killings within gay leather bars within the 1970s. Working with the local Mafia members of New York City who owned the bars shot in the film, and having Al Pacino as his lead actor, Friedkin set out to make another significant, yet controversial film within not just his filmography but a milestone in the history of queer cinema. Ryan, Jay, and Erik break down the film’s legacy, the film’s depiction of S&M culture, the lost forty minutes of footage cut from the film, Pacino’s laughable performance, Friedkin’s intentions with the ending and violence throughout Cruising, pleasure vs. pain, and so much more.
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This podcast runs 2h03m. The guys will be back next week to continue their series covering the films of William Friedkin with a review of his next film, To Live and Die in L.A. Till then, let’s get into it.
Music: MUSICALIFE, from Pond5 (intro) and “B-3” from BoxCat Games Nameless: The Hackers RPG Soundtrack (outro)