Love and Death in Long Island (1997): Tale of Obsession, Starring Jason Priestley and John HurtStarring

Richard Kwietniowski directed Love and Death in Long Island, starring Jason Priestley and John Hurt, in a lightly satirical tale of obsession that, thematically, recalls Visconti’s 1971 Death in Venice.

John Hurt os well cast Giles De’Ath, an aging British writer who’s lost in the modern world and its new technologies. One day, after locking himself out of his flat, he goes to see an E. M. Forster movie but, instead, accidentally enters the wrong theatre and sees the teen flick Hotpants College II, starring Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley).

Instantly infatuated with Ronnie’s youth and beauty, he becomes obsessed with the young actor. He goes to his movies in the cinema, buys teen magazines, and buys a VCR and TV in order to play his movies.

As his infatuation grows, it becomes obvious that Giles is becoming increasingly disturbed, though they don’t know why. His friend and agent suggests that he take a holiday.

Giles sets out to meet Ronnie on Long Island, New York. Upon arrival, he takes a motel for several weeks, and begins searching for Ronnie, finally spotting Ronnie’s girlfriend in the supermarket. Giles force an introduction by inventing a story about his god-daughter, Abigail, being in love with Ronnie.

The girlfriend, Audrey (Fiona Loewi), glad to learn of a fan-base for Ronnie in England, tells him that she and Ronnie will invite him over to talk about Ronnie’s career. Giles becomes a regular visitor at Ronnie and Audrey’s house, claiming that he’ll write a new script for Ronnie that better suits his abilities.

Audrey becomes suspicious of Giles’s motives regarding Ronnie and decides to take Ronnie to her parents for an extended visit.  Upset, in a last-ditch effort. Giles confronts Ronnie and opens up about his feelings for him. He says that many artists have had younger male lovers, and suggests a split with Audrey.

The film ends with a screening of Ronnie’s next film, another Hotpants College movie where he quotes Walt Whitman at his mother’s funeral as written by Giles.

John Hurt – Giles De’Ath
Jason Priestley – Ronnie Bostock
Fiona Loewi – Audrey
Sheila Hancock – Mrs. Barker
Harvey Atkin – Lou
Gawn Grainger – Henry
Elizabeth Quinn – Mrs. Reed
Maury Chaykin – Irving ‘Irv’ Buckmuller
Linda Busby – Mrs. Abbott
Bill Leadbitter – Eldridge