Wakefield Poole is widely acknowledged as “the godfather of gay porn.” His 1971 film Boys in the Sand was the first explicit gay film to be advertised in the New York Times and was a knockout success. But while Boys was fun in the daytime sun, Poole’s next film, Bijou, is a visually breathtaking nighttime odyssey, comparable to the psychedelic strangeness of Behind the Green Door, or the works of David Lynch in its innovative visual style, otherworldly set-pieces, melting colours and shadowy logic. It centers on a straight construction worker who finds a ticket to a secret club named Bijou, where sexual fantasies are made realities – evoking the experience of tumbling down the rabbit hole into a Wonderland of erotic male desire. Star Bill Harrison became an instant gay celebrity and Bijou rode the wave of early 1970’s porno chic to become an enormous crossover success.
Previously only available in muddy, shoddy transfers made from defective 16mm negatives, Bijou has recently been beautifully remastered by Gorilla Factory Productions, but due to contractual issues cannot be sold commercially. Instead, Wakefield Poole has given his permission to use the film as a way to help filmmaker Jim Tushinski raise funds to complete the documentary Dirty Poole, about the filmmaker. Tushinski, who directed and produced That Man: Peter Berlin with co-producer Lawrence Helman, is also remastering a number of Poole’s other films in conjunction with the Dirty Poole project, including Boys in the Sand (1971), the controversial uncut version of Moving (1974), and the rarely seen Wakefield Poole's Bible (1973). Blue Sunshine is grateful to Jim Tushinski for supplying us with a stunning remastered copy of this breakthrough film, as a rare chance for an audience to witness Bijou in all its trippy, 1970’s glory.