The Queen

Directed by Frank Simon

Release Year: 1968
Running Time: 68
Country: U.S.
Language: English
Closed Captioned: Yes
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Screening Info
Crew
Directed by Frank Simon

More than 40 years before RuPaul's Drag Race, this ground-breaking documentary about the 1967 Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant introduced audiences to the world of competitive drag. The film takes us backstage to kiki with the contestants as they rehearse, throw shade, and transform into their drag personas in the lead-up to the big event. Organized by LGBT icon and activist Flawless Sabrina, the competition boasted a star-studded panel of judges including Andy Warhol and his superstars Edie Sedgwick and Mario Montez. But perhaps most memorable is an epic diatribe calling out the pageant scene’s racial bias delivered by Crystal LaBeija, who would go on to form the influential House of LaBeija, heavily featured in Paris Is Burning (1990). A vibrant piece of queer history, The Queen can now be seen in full resplendence thanks to a new restoration from the original camera negative.

Critical Acclaim

"[A] riveting chronicle of a 1967 drag competition."
- Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice

"The mother of all drag documentaries."
- Mekado Murphy, The New York Times

"A gutsy, funny... really very moving documentary.”
– Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

“Makes gender itself seem like an urgent performance.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Extraordinary."
– Renata Adler, The New York Times

"A beautiful film; its subject matter is treated with such sensibility, taste and compassion that what might have been a grindhouse movie emerges as an impressive human document."
– Judith Crist, New York Magazine

 

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