The Naked Civil Servant 

Warner • $19.99 • 1980

Based on the Quentin Crisp autobiography of life as a gay man searching for identity, respect, and love during the first half of the 20th century in repressive Britain, The Naked Civil Servant caused an uproar when aired on PBS in 1975 for its frank portrayal of “sexual perversion.” Viewed today, Brit TV vet Jack Gold’s short adaptation feels visually quaint and narratively perfunctory, a little too polite for such a subversive subject. But it’s also surprisingly moving, due no doubt in part to the inimitable John Hurt’s wry, melancholic performance as the flamboyant Wildean hero who was too far ahead of his time to reap the benefits of his own breakthroughs.


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