In The Trip, when openly gay Tommy Ballenger (Steve Braun) meets the sexually repressed Alan Oakley (Larry Sullivan), Alan initially invites Tommy over for dinner so he can interview him for a book he is planning to write. Their connection is too intense for Alan’s girlfriend, Beverley (Sirena Irwin) and she storms off that night.
In time, following a disastrous night out and further encounters, despite their political and personal differences, the two men form a four-year loving relationship until 1977, when a book “ The Straight Truth”, written by Alan some years before, is published against his will. Although it is published anonymously, the name of the true author is soon leaked, and this together with the fact that the book was critical of the gay lifestyle, ends their relationship. Alan, then working for a newspaper, is consequently fired and so becomes the kept boy of Peter Baxter (Ray Baker), a man who is ‘in the closet’. When, in 1984, Alan discovers Peter was the source of the leak he leaves him to seek out a reunion with Tommy. Happily, Tommy and Alan reunite and set out on the road trip they had previously planned. Tommy is now ill and Alan writes a second book “The Trip”, which details his coming out and his love with Tommy. Alan dedicates the book to Tommy.
“The Trip is an ambitious film that takes the viewer from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan and AIDS. Transitions between the years are bridged with period music and some terrific archival footage of early Pride marches, scenes with Harvey Milk, and – most welcome of all – that priceless moment when a gay activist shoved a pie in Anita Bryant’s face.”
—Michael D. Klemm, QueerCinema.com
Did You Know?
The things we do for love and things we should have done, all come together on The Trip. The historic site of Falcon Lair Estate, once home to Rudolph Valentino was the setting for a great deal of the film.
Originally a short story, writer Miles Swain decided to write the back-story of the characters in order to work out who they were and the result was a full screenplay, which went on to become The Trip. Review our Gay Themed Films here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of TLA Releasing