Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Donald Strachey Mystery 1: Third Man Out (TV 2005)

A Donald Strachey Mystery 1: Third Man Out (TV 2005)


A gay detective is hired to find who has been been threatening a notorious member of the gay community noted for outing people.

Ron Oliver is to be commended for bringing this first story from the Donald Strachey Mysteries by Richard Stevenson (screenplay by Mark Saltzman) to the screen. This first story is so well written, directed, acted and filmed that it can only give us hope that the other novels in the Donald Strachey series will be forthcoming.

The story is a modern detective story that takes place in Albany, New York and is complete with realistic characters, a fine plot well paced, and a number of twists and turns that keep the audience not only entertained but glued to the screen. The difference, here, is that the detective Strachey (Chad Allen in an impressive performance) happens to be a gay man, well adjusted, living with his wholesome and tender partner Timmy (Sebastian Spence). The action involves a gay activist John Rutka (Jack Wetherall) with a penchant for outing political figures whose agenda is not friendly to the community. He likewise lives with a healthy life partner Eddie (Woody Jeffreys) and the two seem targeted for death by apparent candidates for Rutka's next outing computer magazine. Strachey is engaged to protect Rutka despite initial, partner-supported feelings that Rutka disrupts closeted men's lives too ruthlessly. But take the case on he does and he proves to be not only smart but wise while remaining a lovable detective. The plots thickens and surprises are everywhere just as good detective mysteries should have. But along the way the film takes the time to make some cogent statements about the clergy and politicians and other significant matters that raises this movie to a fine level of social consciousness.

The cast is excellent and the love scenes are beautifully presented. There is even some beefcake (Matthew Rush as the 'Dik Steele' porn star in the buff) and club scenes to lighten the action. The film includes a superb featurette with Ron Oliver discussing how the film made it to the screen and includes for once some healthy conversation from openly gay actors who are enlightened about their roles. Though obviously a 'gay film', the story and production are so strong that any audience will find this a fine mystery! Highly recommended.


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