The closest thing to a real-life living and breathing Narcissus, gay Aryan sex icon Peter Berlin was so obscenely enamored with his own blond beast beauteousness that he acted as his own photographer and would not allow anyone to take portraits of him, aside from the occasional guest like Rick Castro (who is probably best known in the cinema world for co-directing the 1996 cocksucker cult classic Hustler White starring Madonna’s one-time ‘kept man’ Tony Ward). With that being said, it should be no surprise that he would also direct himself in his own quasi-hardcore fag fuck flick, That Boy (1974), under the pseudonym ‘Peter Burian’ (Berlin opted to adopt his current pseudonym after a Hollywood actor named Peter Burian threatened to sue him). Born in 1942 as ‘Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyningen-Huene,’ Berlin came from a poor Prussian aristocratic family that lost all of its money and possessions during the Second World War when the future sex icon’s young father was killed in battle and the family's eastern estate was stolen by the Soviets occupiers. A relative of Baltic German fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene, who was also gay and worked with Hebraic Hollywood homo-auteur George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story, My Fair Lady) and acted as a color consultant on his film A Star Is Born (1954) starring Judy Garland, Berlin may be somewhat of a dumb blond, but he also has an innate talent for photography, or at least so much is clear in That Boy, which features a number of the iconic kraut cocksucker's iconic portraits spliced in throughout the film. Starring Berlin as his alter ego ‘Helmut’ (one reviewer speculated the name might be a tribute to Helmut Berger and/or a reference to his ‘warhead’ of a cockhead) in a role where he becomes infatuated with a newly blind boy because he “seems so different from all the other street people” and “lives in a world all his own,” the film is ultimately the most bizarre example of the star/director’s rather intricate and bizarre brand of post-WWII Teutonic fairy narcissism and vanity. The second and final film Berlin starred in before directing a couple obscure shorts and dropping out of filmmaking and acting altogether, That Boy is the height of homo vanity in quasi-avant-garde form as a sort of west coast equivalent to the Warhol/Morrissey films, albeit minus any sort of irony, cynicism, or sociopolitical context, thus making for a seriously silly cinematic work that is distinctly charming due to the fact that it is completely unintentionally humorous despite its sentimental ‘humanistic’ aspirations as a rather ridiculous tale featuring camp elements (including middle-aged tranny hippie homos!) about a glamorous gay boy who falls in pseudo-love with an equally ‘side-pipe’ plagued blind boy. In the world of Peter Berlin, nothing else exists except him and his many horny admirers, who, at best, only are allowed a mere tiny taste of the muscular Teutonic twink. While dead serious in an almost poetic fashion, That Boy is also a superlatively side-splitting depiction of the delusional beauty of an exceedingly eccentric gay dude with a silly Dutch boy haircut whose personal weltanschauung is self-worship and self-glorification. Indeed, if nothing else, Berlin is the ultimate unrivaled ‘Übermensch’ of sod sex icons, but of course, no one ever had to tell him that.
The spiritually prodigal son of a young Wehrmacht soldier whose Halstatt Nordic good looks and physique he passed on to his progeny before dying tragically in the Second World War while apparently saving a comrade in battle, Peter Berlin is, in many ways, a sort of symbol for the death of the Occident, as a man who, not unlike Fassbinder's Lebensborn-bred boy toy Armin Meier, would have gone on to do much greater things, like be a prestigious SS officer of an Aryan utopia covered in Berlin-esque Arno Breker statues, had World War II ended differently. Indeed, such is certainly a tragic fate for a man who was born with the name Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyningen-Huene and was probably destined to live in a castle, yet instead chose the suggestive porn name ‘Peter Berlin’ and preferred living in an American urban hippie gutter. In more than one way That Boy is a fitting title, as it depicts the striking mensch who was, psychologically speaking, a perennial boy whose narcissism, like many gay men, was comparable to that of an infant, thus hinting that he never got the proper maternal nourishment during his first critical years (after all, he was born during the middle of WWII in 1942, not much earlier before his father was killed). Like the first film the sex icon starred in, Nights in Black Leather (1973), That Boy demonstrates that fascistic aesthetics (which were partly inspired by Berlin's hero Tom of Finland's drawings) were quite chic among homos in the 1970s, thus symbolizing a certain sick irony of fate in Berlin's life as the spiritually fallen son of a Teutonic father and Fatherland. Indeed, That Boy demonstrates that 1970s San Francisco—with its tranny homo hippies, lurking and lecherous leather-fags, and bellbottom-wearing power-bottoms—was a sort of Weimar 2.0, with Peter Berlin being its unofficial prince, thus, in a sense, he did live the life of the the born aristocrat that he was after all.