IMDb Rating 7.1 10 131


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by django-1 9 / 10

an amazing document!--Andy Milligan at his most Warhol-esque

If I were going to try to convince someone of the value of Andy Milligan's work, VAPORS would be the film I'd show. In fact, I HAVE shown it to a few people over the years with that purpose. It's a gritty 16mm black-and-white feature set in a gay bathhouse and it seems very much like a "small theatre group" play, which makes sense since Milligan himself ran a few such theatre groups. The film transcends the gay aesthetic it represents and is really a meditation on loneliness--gay, straight, or whatever. While the room-tone echo on the recorded sound takes a little getting used to, it should not diminish the quality of the acting, which is quite moving in the case of the two leads. While the late Mr. Milligan was a unique filmmaker, Warhol always seemed to be his main-man artistically, and that's clearer here than anywhere else in Milligan's work. Milligan obviously knew what it meant to be lonely, to be afraid, and to reach out. This beautiful but raw film captures that as well as, for example, any Bergman film or Saul Bellow novel. History will view this film as a pioneering work of cinema. Please be warned, though, that it is NOT for the casual viewer or the viewer who cannot see beyond the film's lack of traditional qualities of slickness and "professionalism." Seeing this on a big screen at the time of its minimal release must have been a revelation!!! If Milligan had never made another film, this would rate him as a major filmmaker in my book.

Reviewed by dbborroughs 7 / 10

First film by a grind house superstar is possibly better than everything else that followed simply because it was closest to his heart

Milligan's first film is possibly his best. Certainly its one of the few where the technical limitations of his equipment didn't hurt the film (Andy used basically one camera with one lens which could make things cramped) The plot has the meeting of two men in a gay bath house and talking. Very little happens other than other men come and go and you sense the longing and the need to connect to someone like yourself. One of the first films graphically (well for the time) deal with homosexuality as something real and not monstrous this film rattled cages. Very much an independent film, low budget art film this is very different than almost anything else that Milligan did (at least that survives). There is a rawness and a realness that shines through so that even though we know its artificial we can sense the reality behind it. Clearly not for all tastes this is an interesting look for those who like Milligans drek, to see where he started, and its an interesting side note for theater buffs to see one of the footnote founders of off Broadway went off theater.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 8 / 10

A compellingly stark and sordid depiction of the 60's New York gay bath house scene

Awkward young gay man Thomas (an engagingly gawky performance by Gerard Jacuzzo) goes to a bath house and encounters a diverse array of homosexual guys. Thomas strikes up a rapport with the friendly, but frustrated and unhappily married Mr. Jaffee (superbly played with riveting gravitas by Robert Dahdah). Andy Milligan, working from a sharp, bold, incisive script by Hope Stansbury, does an expert job of creating and sustaining an arrestingly gritty and seedy atmosphere while delivering a rough-around-the-edges, yet touching and compassionate cinematic meditation on loneliness and the basic human need for direct emotional contact. This movie boasts several poignant and powerful moments, with Mr. Jaffee's sad monologue about the tragic untimely drowning death of his son rating as a positively gut-wrenching highlight. The first-rate naturalistic acting from a uniformly tip-top cast qualifies as another significant asset: Jacuzzo and Dahdah are outstanding in the leads, with fine support from Hal Borske as the bitter, spiteful Mavis, Hal Sherwood as the effeminate Miss Parrish, Richard Goldberger as the catty Thumbelina, and Ron Keith as an aggressive seducer. Milligan's raw and grainy 16mm black and white hand-held cinematography further adds to the jolting impact and immediacy of this intriguing short feature. Proof positive that Andy Milligan could make a genuinely good picture when given the right material to work with.

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