The Queen

The Queen

Frank Simon’s keenly observed 1968 documentary is a behind-the-scenes view of a drag-queen contest at the Town Hall, in midtown Manhattan. The movie starts with a portrait of the MC, Jack, whose drag name is Sabrina. Simon details the emergence, by way of makeup and costuming, of Jack’s – and the contestants’  – superb artistry. In their hotel rooms, the show’s participants discuss the practicalities of gay and trans life at the time: their relationships with their partners and with parents and neighbors, the option of sex-affirming surgery. Despite its flash and glitz, the pageant comes off as difficult, exacting work; for all the camaraderie of the drag queens, the competition is fierce and serious. Simon reveals racial tensions among the contestants as well as the eternal conflict between life-worn troupers and talented young newcomers. Whether pushing the camera close to the performers or zooming in from afar, Simon intimately captures the lavish life of theatrical imagination that inspires them, and presents the public performance of gender as an urgent act of liberation. (Richard Brody)
Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Frank Simon
Cinematography: Robert Elfstrom, Frank Simon, Ken van Sickle, Joseph Zysman
Editing: Geraldine Fabrikant
Sound: Sven Lukin, Gwen Brown, Nigel Noble
Actors: Jim Dine, Flawless Sabrina, Bruce Jay Friedman, Harlow, Jill Krementz, Jerry Leiber, Mary Ellen Mark, Mario Montez, George Plimpton, Larry Rivers, Edie Sedgwick, Terry Southern, Andy Warhol
Producers: Si Litvinoff, Don Herbert
Executive producer: Lewis M. Allen, John Maxtone-Graham
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: USA
Production Year: 1968
Duration: 67'
Contact: Kino Lorber

Frank Simon


1968 The Queen
1972 Polanski Meets Macbeth
1972 Weekend of a Champion
1977 The Chicken Chronicles