By Gregory Crofton
“AMERICAN SWING” is like an X-rated episode of ABC’s Nightline, which, in my opinion, is a big compliment. There’s lots of footage of naked 1970s people frolicking, and fucking, inside Plato’s Retreat. I mean lots.
The “retreat” was a couple’s club open in New York City from 1977 until it was shut down by city health inspectors in 1985, primarily because it fostered high-risk sex during the rise of HIV and AIDS.
“AMERICAN SWING” tells the story of the club’s founder Larry “King of Swing” Levenson and how he created a utopia for straight men like himself. He was a generous and benevolent fellow whose mission was to sleep with every woman in New York.
An orgy room filled with mattresses, drugs, prostitution and tax evasion followed. But Larry is able to hot step over these things for a few years, long enough to move the club into a more upscale location in the basement of a hotel on the Upper West Side, a former gay hot spot called the Continental Baths.
Larry had a good solid run at living out his fantasies, but things that go way up come down hard, and his life has a much darker second act.
Watch a trailer for the film below, or rent it here for $3.99. It’s also streaming for free on Prime if you’re a member.
Watch an interview with the co-directors of the documentary below: