More than 40 years before RuPaul's Drag Race, this ground-breaking documentary about the 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant introduced audiences to the world of competitive drag. The film takes us backstage to kiki with the contestants as they rehearse, throw shade, and transform into their drag personas in the lead-up to the big event.
Organized by queer icon and activist Flawless Sabrina, the competition boasted a star-studded panel of judges including Andy Warhol. But perhaps most memorable is an epic diatribe calling out the pageant scene’s racial bias delivered by Crystal LaBeija, who would go on to form the influential House of LaBeija, heavily featured in Paris Is Burning (1990). A vibrant piece of queer history, The Queen can now be seen in full resplendence thanks to a new restoration from the original camera negative.
This 4K Restoration was produced by Bret Wood of Kino Lorber, in cooperation with the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas). THE QUEEN was reconstructed from the 16mm A/B original camera negatives, the 35mm internegative, and 35mm optical track negative. Special thanks to Shade Rupe, Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Brooke Allen. Scanning by OCN Digital Labs.