American Swing

"American Swing" memorializes "the poor man's Playboy Mansion," the late-'70s/early-'80s Manhattan sex club Plato's Retreat.

With:
With: Helen Gurley Brown, Professor Irwin Corey, Betty Dodson, Dan Dorman, Donna Ferrato, Jamie Gillis, Al Goldstein, Dian Hanson, Buck Henry, Ron Jeremy, Ed Koch, John Leo, Fred J. Lincoln, Melvin Van Peebles, Howard Smith, Annie Sprinkles.

“American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon Hart’s docu is just functionally assembled, lacking the style or larger social context that distinguished similar studies like “Inside Deep Throat.” Also, poor quality of early vidcam clips means this planned Magnolia release will look considerably better on the smallscreen.

While gay bathhouses flourished in 1977, there was no regular public venue for hetero swingers until Larry Levenson decided to open one. He reveled in his role as “King of Swing” for “free-thinking, free-loving young couples.” The mostly very ordinary, working-class Noo Yawkahs who comprised Plato’s core clientele (and employees) recall its nonjudgmental, liberating atmosphere. But by 1984, the party was over, due to murky finances, IRS investigation, NYPD busts, AIDS and other factors. Anecdotes, archival materials et al. are all amusing, but the pic could have used more packaging and editorial invention.

American Swing

Production: A Magnolia Pictures release of an HDNet presentation of a Zip Dog production. (International sales: Magnolia Pictures Intl., New York.) Produced by Mathew Kaufman, Jon Hart, Gretchen McGowan, Christian Hoagland. Executive producers, Jason Kliot Joana Vicente, Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban. Directed, written by Mathew Kaufman, Jon Hart, based on an article by Hart.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Christian Hoagland; editor, Keith Reamer; music, Jim Coleman. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 6, 2008. Running time: 81 MIN.

With: With: Helen Gurley Brown, Professor Irwin Corey, Betty Dodson, Dan Dorman, Donna Ferrato, Jamie Gillis, Al Goldstein, Dian Hanson, Buck Henry, Ron Jeremy, Ed Koch, John Leo, Fred J. Lincoln, Melvin Van Peebles, Howard Smith, Annie Sprinkles.

More Film

  • A Quiet Place

    China Box Office: ‘A Quiet Place’ Opens Third Behind ‘Infinity War'

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • Patricia Morison Dead: 'Kiss Me Kate'

    Patricia Morison, Stage Star of 'Kiss Me, Kate', Dies at 103

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • Does Cannes Have a Future? Yes,

    Does Cannes Have a Future? Yes, But the Festival Needs to Change

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • DEADPOOL 2

    'Deadpool 2' Leads International Box Office With Powerful $176 Million Debut

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • BlacKkKlansman

    Variety Critics Name the 12 Best Movies From Cannes 2018

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • DEADPOOL 2

    Box Office: 'Deadpool 2' Propels to $125 Million Opening

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

  • U.S.-China Film Talks Now Part of

    U.S.-China Film Talks Now Hostage to Trade War (Report)

    “American Swing” memorializes “the poor man’s Playboy Mansion,” the late-’70s/early-’80s Manhattan sex club Plato’s Retreat. This flashback to one of the sexual revolution’s symbolic highlights and flameouts can’t help but grab attention, abetted by recollections of assorted former staff and regulars (who are more entertaining than the celebrities interviewed). That said, Mathew Kaufman and Jon […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content