Eddie (Emile Charles) is a sixteen-year-old boy who is way ahead of his age. He is homosexual, part of a working class family in Liverpool and has ambitious aspirations for a better, more successful and fulfilling life. His close friend, Michael (Tony Forsyth), is also gay and eager to leave his home. But the two teenagers could not be more different – Eddie is absent-minded, passive and spends most of his time watching old movies and being consistently spoiled by his overly understanding mother, whereas his friend enjoys street life, adrenaline rushes and playing video games. However, both have something in common: they want to leave the brutal reality of unemployment in Liverpool behind. So they venture into the city’s nightlife.
The first location the two teens stumble upon is a shockingly strange gay transvestite nightclub entitled The Fruit Machine. The joint is run by Annabelle (Robbie Coltrane), a plump and famous drag queen who thrives on bizarre shows and new customers. Unfortunately, Eddie and Michael both witness Annabelle being ruthlessly murdered by a disturbed gang member named Echo (Bruce Payne). Terrorized and unsure of how to proceed next, the two boys run away and end up meeting a lewd and curious opera singer, Vincent (Robert Stephens). The latter invites them to his house in Brighton, where him and his associate, Eve (Clare Higgins), take advantage of the boys repeatedly.
“A loony romantic melodrama about two gay teen-age working-class lads in Liverpool who, like Maria in ”West Side Story,” dream of finding that somewhere, sometime, where they can be happy.”
— The New York Times
“Intercut with a vibrant disco beat, courtesy of Robbie Coltrane’s transalicious turn of nightclub owner Annabelle, this work is not for those who crave only happy endings.”
— Gay Celluloid
“It’s as camp as Christmas, and if it rarely hits the jackpot, playing along with it is wildly enjoyable.”
Did You Know?
The filming for The Fruit Machine was done in three different locations: London, Brighton and Liverpool. One of the leading actors, Emile Charles, is the brother of Craig Charles and the late Dean Charles. The motion picture’s cinematographer is Dick Pope and the soundtrack was written by Hans Zimmer, but has never been officially released. Review our Gay Themed Films Here