Fortune and Men’s Eyes 1971
R | 1h 42min | Drama | 15 June 1971 (USA)
The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He’s assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out drag queen, Rocky, a quiet but cocky con, and Mona, a young gay man who ministers to Rocky. Smitty watches in horror as gangs of inmates brutalize prisoners who lack protection. Those who complain risk beatings or murder at the hands of unsympathetic guards: all cries are bootless. Mona offers poetry – Shakespeare’s sonnet XXIX; Queenie and Rocky offer Smitty advice, and Rocky offers protection for a price. Smitty’s choices and their consequences are the film’s main subjects.
Theme of homosexuality and rape in prison was very daring for its time (1971). You could feel the pain of the lead character as he succumbs to the brutal advances of his cellmate, while longing for his girlfriend.
I saw the movie when it first came out, and I still remember the line uttered by a prisoner as he observes a gang rape- “Nobody’s going to stop a man from getting his oats.” It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes from films.
Directors: Harvey Hart, Jules Schwerin (uncredited)
Writers: John Herbert (play), John Herbert (screenplay)
Stars: Wendell Burton, Michael Greer, Zooey Hall
Country: Canada | USA
Release Date: 15 June 1971 (USA)
Also Known As: Al sordo cielo
Filming Locations: Québec, Canada