An evocative time capsule, Frank Simon’s debut takes in the sights and sounds of 1967’s Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant. Drag artists throughout the land descended upon Town Hall to vie for the title, but, notes emcee Flawless Sabrina, “There can only be one queen.” Praising its humor and its style, Renata Adler saw the film as a revelation: “It shows us another America.” Made just prior to The Queen, Queens at Heart provides glimpse into the twilight world of ball culture, offering a series of probing interviews with four transwomen, in which they speak with great candor to the struggles of their moment as well as to their hopes. Striking a somewhat different chord is a physique film by the prolific and pioneering gay pornographer Bob Mizer. Here, two scantily clad men pose, wrestle, and jokingly try to out-flex one another in what amounts to a beauty contest of its own. Queens at Heart 35mm print courtesy of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Collection.
Monte Hanson and Tony Gallo
Bob Mizer, USA, 1964, 6m
Queens at Heart
Director unknown, USA, 1967, 35mm, 22m
Frank Simon, USA, 1968, 35mm, 68m
Read Michael Musto’s conversation with Jack Doroshow (a/k/a Flawless Sabrina) about The Queen and early drag culture in the Village Voice.