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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Straight Films That Are Actually Gay.


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#101 rayban

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 10:49 PM

Yes, of course, it is possible to read "Dead Reckoning" as a straight film.  The male bonding that was forged in wartime is a very strong coupling.  To me, it's more than possible that such relationships had a sexual component.  The beginning of the film in which Bogart's "Rip" is separated from William Prince's Johnny without really knowing why has all the aura of a "broken romance".  The screenplay was written by two men, Oliver H.P. Garrett and Steve Fisher. The overall narration often has the tone of a really ****-off gay man.  Also, the Lizabeth Scott character is named Dusty Chandler, but Rip insists on calling her Mike.  Possibly because he's involved with her and would rather her be a Mike.  She also gives out masculine-like vibes. At the end, Scott may be on her way to prison, but, no, she has to die first in a car accident.  She was bad to Rip's Johnny and she had to pay the ultimate price. But, seriously, I would never object to a straight reading of this film.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#102 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 08:25 PM

I probably agree with that assessment. The writer(s) might toy with the idea of a character being somewhat ambiguous, but in this case, given Bogart's stalwart screen persona, it's not really going to be read any other way except straight (even if the actor had same sex relationships in real life, the audience perceives him and his characters as specifically heterosexual). Now, in something like THE BIG COMBO, there are slightly more overt references to a homosexual relationship going on between the characters played by Earl Holliman (who is gay in real life) and Lee Van Cleef. But they are secondary characters, not main characters so they get decidedly less screen time to reveal the deeper nature of their relationship.

 

Yes,  that The Big Combo pair are gay.    It wasn't too uncommon for the stooges of the major criminal in a noir film to be gay.   Who better to protect the crime boss's moll than gay man.   There was also the old adage that crime and women don't mix.   Therefore needs could be satisfied without the need for women.     The Big Sleep is a Bogart film with multiple gay characters (very clear if one reads the book), but as you noted not the main character.

 

Sometimes there is a gay subtext associated with the main character in a noir;  House of Bamboo is a good example of this.   One overt clue is that the Robert Ryan character is named Sandy.   An ambiguous name implying ambiguous sexuality.


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#103 TopBilled

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 08:14 PM

I don't see any gay themes in Dead Reckoning.    The film is clearly a post WWII noir film.   A common theme in these films is that men at war watch out for each other and develop strong,  brotherly type bonds.     We see this in another Bogie noir,  Key Largo,  with how the Bogie character feels towards the dead son of Barrymore and husband of Bacall.     To me to view these brotherly type bonds forged by the act of going to war as some type of gay bonding,  is too make up something that only exist in the minds of those that see it this way. 

I probably agree with that assessment. The writer(s) might toy with the idea of a character being somewhat ambiguous, but in this case, given Bogart's stalwart screen persona, it's not really going to be read any other way except straight (even if the actor had same sex relationships in real life, the audience perceives him and his characters as specifically heterosexual). Now, in something like THE BIG COMBO, there are slightly more overt references to a homosexual relationship going on between the characters played by Earl Holliman (who is gay in real life) and Lee Van Cleef. But they are secondary characters, not main characters so they get decidedly less screen time to reveal the deeper nature of their relationship.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#104 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 07:58 PM

But would postwar audiences of the 40s agree with your theory about DEAD RECKONING? The screenwriter might have deliberately shaded it in such a way, but most folks from that time period who liked the film would probably say the story meant something else to them.

 

I don't see any gay themes in Dead Reckoning.    The film is clearly a post WWII noir film.   A common theme in these films is that men at war watch out for each other and develop strong,  brotherly type bonds.     We see this in another Bogie noir,  Key Largo,  with how the Bogie character feels towards the dead son of Barrymore and husband of Bacall.     To me to view these brotherly type bonds forged by the act of going to war as some type of gay bonding,  is too make up something that only exist in the minds of those that see it this way. 


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#105 TopBilled

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 07:05 PM

There are just so many so-called straight films that actually turn out to be gay.  A recent example is "Dead Reckoning" with Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott. In the film, Bogart goes through hell and high water to prove that his war buddy was murdered and the reasons for it.  At the end of the film, Lizabeth Scott, who is going to be brought to justice by Bogart, says to him, "Don't you love me?"  He says to her simply, "Of course, but  I loved him more.".  Suddenly, the film is thrown into an entirely different light.  Also, throughout the film, the overall narration by Bogart has some definite gay vibes, which do point the way to the unexpected conclusion.

But would postwar audiences of the 40s agree with your theory about DEAD RECKONING? The screenwriter might have deliberately shaded it in such a way, but most folks from that time period who liked the film would probably say the story meant something else to them.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#106 jaragon

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 06:54 PM

That's an interesting theory


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#107 rayban

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 11:50 AM

There are just so many so-called straight films that actually turn out to be gay.  A recent example is "Dead Reckoning" with Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott. In the film, Bogart goes through hell and high water to prove that his war buddy was murdered and the reasons for it.  At the end of the film, Lizabeth Scott, who is going to be brought to justice by Bogart, says to him, "Don't you love me?"  He says to her simply, "Of course, but  I loved him more.".  Suddenly, the film is thrown into an entirely different light.  Also, throughout the film, the overall narration by Bogart has some definite gay vibes, which do point the way to the unexpected conclusion.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".





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