Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Born in a Long Island suburb in 1944, James Slattery immediately felt drawn to the feminine side of life -- to such a degree that he established himself as one of the most iconic of all female impersonators, Candy Darling. As given life by Slattery, this young, sexy, and alluring blonde actress single-handedly overtook Manhattan. She attained her greatest recognition for her portrayals in two Paul Morrissey-directed films: Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), both produced by Andy Warhol. Mainstream stardom soon beckoned to Darling, but aside from bit appearances in such productions as Klute (1971) -- and playwright Tennessee Williams's decision to cast her in a production of his Small Craft Warnings -- she continued to suffer from marginalization. Internally, if Darling suffered from an intense and bitter loneliness that propelled her into a life-long search for love, she also wielded boundless courage -- the same courage that enabled her to transform herself from a Long Island-bred young man into a Manhattan glamour goddess. Tragically, she died of lymphoma at age 29, soon after attaining stardom. James Rasin's documentary Beautiful Darling pays unfettered tribute to Darling's all-too-brief life and career, with a combination of current and vintage interview material, rarely seen archival photos and footage, and extracts from Darling's movies. Rasin weaves much of the material around the theme of fidelity to one's true self and deepest convictions, as exemplified by Darling. Morrissey executive produced.