On This Gay Day: The film ‘The Birdcage’ was released

‘The Birdcage’ celebrates it 25th anniversary today

Classic comedy The Birdcage will mark it’s 25th anniversary today, the Mike Nichols comedy was released on this day back in 1996.

The film is a remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles, which was an adaptation of a 1973 play. While the French-Italian original spawned two sequels and the stage musical, the American version is just one single, but very memorable film.

The US version is set in South Beach, Miami. Armand Goldman is the gay owner of a drag club, his partner Albert is drag queen Starina, the club’s main attraction. Armand has a son named Val, the result of a one night stand with a woman named Katharine. The action kicks off when Val announces that he’s getting married. His new in-laws are an ultra-conservative politician and moral crusader wife. When his future in-laws come to visit he persuades his mother and father to pretend they are a married couple.

The adaptation was written by Mike Nichols long-term collaborator Elaine May, the pair had been a comedy duo in the early 1960’s. After they stopped performing together Nichols became a successful director helming many well known films including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Graduate, Catch-22, Silkwood, Heartburn, Working Girl, Postcards from the Edge, Regarding Henry. 

For the American version of the film an all-star cast with comedian Robin Williams as Armand, and Gene Hackman as Senator Kevin Keeley. Dianne Wiest played his wife, Louise. The rest of the cast were made up of actors who at the time were better known for their work on Broadway than in films. Calista Flockhart played fiancé Barbara, Nathan Lane had one of his first starring roles as Albert, and Christine Baranski played Katharine. Hank Azaria, played houseboy Agador Spartacus.

The film was praised for going beyond the usual gay stereotypes and it was a massive success at the box office.

OIP Staff


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