Despite being slapped with the restrictive NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the film version if Martin Sherman's play Bent will be released Nov. 26 by MGM as scheduled.
The distributor chose not to contest the rating (only adults 18 and over can be admitted), which was assessed because of a "strong scene of graphic sexuality" depicting an orgy. According to Gerry Rich, MGM's president of marketing, the controversial scene is "absolutely necessary to the story." Rich added that the rating won't hinder the film's distribution, given that Bent was always intended for the adult, art-house film circuit.
The movie, which concerns the persecution of gays by the Nazis during WW II, originated as a play at London's Royal Court Theatre in 1969. The film version was adapted by playwright Sherman and directed by stage wunderkind Sean Mathias (Indiscretions, the National Theatre's A Little Night Music). It stars Ian McKellen (a member of play's original cast), Lothaire Bluteau, Clive Owen, Brian Webber, and Mick Jagger.
Bent's Nov. 26 release in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto will be part of a late autumn double-whammy by Martin Sherman, whose A Madhouse in Goa, starring Judith Ivey, will receive its belated NY premiere at Second Stage Theatre, where it opens Nov. 21.
-- By Andrew Ku