Part of Britain’s new wave of hyper-realistic “Kitchen Sink” dramas, The Leather Boys is a fascinating mix of teen angst, biker thrills and raging emotion.
Originally released in 1964, The Leather Boys follows young newlyweds Reggie (Colin Campbell) and Dot (Rita Tushingham) as they embark on a new life together. But there’s trouble in paradise when Reggie develops feelings for Pete (Dudley Sutton), a member of a rival biker gang. As this love triangle (unusual for the time, especially in cinema) plays out, a torrid melodrama of confusion and repressed sexuality unfolds.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie (who would go on to helm a wide range of Hollywood films like Iron Eagle, The Entity and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – with mixed results) and written by Gillian Freeman from her own novel, The Leather Boys is an interesting film of its time, exploding with expressionistic photography, gripping themes and a bold exploration of identity.
Long unavailable on home video, the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) and Shout! Factory are now presenting a sparkling new restoration of this important chapter of early queer cinema. Special features include a new restoration from the original 35mm negative, audio commentary with director Sidney J. Furie and biographer Daniel Kremer, audio interviews with stars Rita Tushingham and Dudley Sutton and a curious short film called Consenting Adults: A Study of Homosexuality, from the Something Weird S-VHS archive.
Watch the trailer for the new restoration of The Leather Boys below and click here to order your copy of the Blu-ray. It’s available starting this week.