Hmm...never thought about it that way.
Anyway, I'm leaving this thread. I'm a straight female (not homophobic), so I shouldn't be getting involved in the thread's topic. I don't know what it's like to be homosexual.
(Besides, ever since I subscribed to this thread, my email provider has been sending all the TCM notifications directly into my spam folder. Anyone else have this problem? If I check on this thread again, it'll be without the notifications.)
Just un-follow a thread so you don't get bombarded with emails.
Not everybody posting here is gay. Granted, you really don't know what any of us do in our sex lives. Some of us may not do much of anything either way, seeing less "action" than the Vatican. Don't get shy all of the sudden. You can reply as you would a discussion of characters belonging to a different race or religion than you. No, you may not know what it is like to be in one's shoes, but you are just as capable of imagining it just like Scout Finch with Boo Radley.
In any case, the stars being discussed didn't identify as gay either and most were not homophobic. Otherwise they wouldn't be taking on the roles discussed.
Which brings me to STAIRCASE, which I did watch last night. That cast was very homophobic, but we must realize that this was filmed pre-Stonewall and everything that followed. I think director Stanley Donen's intentions were admirable, since he liked the original play's sympathetic characters and likely wanted another WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? featuring an over-the-hill married (in a sense) couple who were acidic with each other but still depended on each other. (Cue ending with one trying to go to his court trial alone without the other and suddenly can't... just as he couldn't live without Eliza Doolittle because "I've grown accustomed to his face".) Yet the Zanucks at 20th Century Fox got neurotic on how the public would react and a major publicity campaign emphasized how much Rex Harrison and Richard Burton were heterosexual in real life. (Not that it was necessary with one's marriage with Liz being so internationally known and SHE had to be on the Paris sets when not shooting THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN.) This ultimately turned off a great many people of all sorts of orientations. Also there wasn't any more of a connection between these two stars here than there was when they played Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony in CLEOPATRA.
Had they trimmed a few lines, this would have merely been a sixties knock-off of a Laurel & Hardy comedy... if hardly their best effort since there wasn't all that much humor in it. Burton seemed to be enjoying himself, spending the entire time cleaning bathrooms, fixing dinner and taking care of bed-ridden mommy (whom we learn isn't as "out of it" as we think and is quite happy her son found love). The mirror in her room showcases activities outside as reality versus how the characters perceive themselves.
(Speaking of their two mothers, I like the relationship between Burton and bed-ridden Cathleen Nesbitt, more famous for her bit role in AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, since he genuinely cares about her and even helps make her beautiful with make-up. In contrast, Harrison's mom is in the nursing home and goes on the war-path despite NOT being bed-ridden. This reflects how Harrison behaves in his relationship with Burton.)
Burton also had the best line and most memorable moment in the movie. While waiting out a springtime storm in a park building, he sees two teenagers getting naked and comments to Harrison "look... they are making love!" This suggests that the guys weren't making love all that much as they used to. Obviously they would be less successful getting away with it in a public park than the heterosexual pair. Curiously they was hypercritical of the kissing heterosexual pair early in the movie outside their barber shop.
Rex Harrison reminded me of how Ted Cruz might have played this part had he decided to take up acting (based on how often he repeated lines from THE PRINCESS BRIDE on his campaign trail). Even though he was very aloof with females in other sixties films like MY FAIR LADY and DR. DOOLITTLE, he views Burton as another unnecessary "woman". He also plays this curious stereotype of gay men being fussy about his appearance with more beauty products than Joan Crawford ever had in her bathroom and clipping his toenails in bed.