Jlewis

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  1. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    The book on him doesn’t show sympathy for the killers. It just gives background information leading up to the incident, including Paul’s ferocious temper, being unemployed and struggling, his homophobia, etc. The sad part is that crimes against gays back then were treated far more lightly than even today, as if “they deserve it for their deviant lifestyle”.
  2. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    Oh... if Romero had any interaction with Grant, we would all know about it since he was quite the gossip. Novarro was born in 1899 and Williams in 1931 and that is important because many with "alternative" interests in their virile twenties had an easier time dealing with it in the 1920s than in the 1950s, McCarthy era and Hollywood Confidential. Novarro also hung around "artistic types" who were more open in self expression. As his career mushroomed, he merely had to keep it all secret from the public, primarily because so many of his fans were women who wanted his screen persona to fall in love with them like he does Dorothy Janis in The Pagan. (Those who want to lust over a young Ramon should choose that title and Ben-Hur for prime viewing since he can barely keep his clothes on in both.) What was tragic with Novarro in the end was that he was too accepting of strangers. Although America was still very homophobic in 1968-69 and the trial of his killers was scandalous news, in hindsight, it should not have been. It isn't that big of a deal for a man in his late sixties, who can't just go out and find somebody at a bar due to transportation issues, to hire attractive men for companionship even if the California law was border-line about such activities then. As Soares claims, many of those he hired admitted that not much happened beyond mutual touching since he was mostly just lonely and too intoxicated to be any threat.
  3. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    My impression from this is that he was a romantic who wanted to be married to a woman, but something was... off... and he couldn't deal with it. Was he even attracted to women? This book looks very detailed but the man remains a mystery. Mentioned on another thread one of the biographies on Ramon Novarro, Andre Soares' Beyond Paradise. This is a nicely detailed book most movie buffs would enjoy since it gets into his positive/neutral relationships with Rex Ingram, Irving Thalberg, L.B. Mayer and other higher ups (since he was always professional on set) and provides detailed descriptions of each movie's production, his co-stars and directors. You really don't have to be a fan of the star to enjoy the read. More importantly, the author really digs deep in analyzing his personality, balancing his devout Catholicism with his same-sex attractions throughout his youth, being content with at least two somewhat long-term relationships in the twenties and thirties and using work as an excuse to not marry. He was never forced into a "lavender" situation by his bosses because he was so discrete, apart from occasionally getting drunk, that the press never found anything that would cause his bosses to worry. He still managed to appear on TV within a year of his death, ironically playing a priest just like his very first role on the stage as a teenager. The cracks started to emerge later in life when his career went into decline and, like Grant, he became increasingly alcoholic and probably even more reclusive. By 1968, he could no longer drive due to his DUIs, among other issues, so he couldn't just go to a gay bar or bathhouse, not that there were that many at the time. It was easier to seek paid "companionship". Soares also analyzes the Ferguson brothers in great depth, especially Paul's very strong Catholic and anti-gay background (being the polar opposite of Ramon's mentality despite a similar upbringing) even though Paul was still willing to have sex with men for money. The murder was done mostly by accident in an alcoholic rage; Paul's "blackout" and Tom's confusing recollections (he being tried as a minor) spared them the death penalty and later even lifetime terms. It was the trial itself in the summer of '69 that exposed Ramon's gay life for the first time, which many family members and closest associates weren't aware of and sometimes refused to believe.
  4. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    The 1950s was a pretty bad decade for what later was dubbed "alternative lifestyles". I think the average at that time was 8 or 9 out of every 10 U.S. adults between their 20s and 70s were in a heterosexual marriage/relationship simply for survival, employment especially. It wasn't as bad during the war years, the great depression or before. Thanks to the revolutions in the sixties, followed by the Me Decade, it wasn't as bad again. Granted, we have had plenty of politicians promising in the last three to four decades that America would be a better place if it was just like the '50s. Their rosy childhood memories favor nothing "alternative" to what they are comfortable with. I think that is why I love The Incredible Shrinking Man so much. It has so much to say about conformity and your sense of self. Only after the world thinks he is swallowed by a cat (ironically played by the same feline Audrey tossed out of the taxi cab in Breakfast At Tiffany's) and forgets about him is he able to be a true man. It is also a perfect match of star with screen character. I think Grant should have been a mountain climber or explorer conquering new worlds without a lot of other humans getting in the way. His sex life may have consisted of a lot of brief, hourly rather than nightly, flings... like a sailor at sea who just needed to dock somewhere to release what had built up inside of his system before setting sail again. His wife, played by Randy Stuart, is nice and maternal with him but all of his trouble starts when he demands that SHE get him that beer from below deck.
  5. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    There are excerpts of this biography that you can google online. This key line is significant: "While the hypothesis of Williams' homosexuality might have its allure and even a degree of plausibility, many of those who knew the actor disagree with it." Well... how would "many of those" know prior to 1985? According to a recent article on The Advocate online, in the year of 2018, well over half of all "out" gay men and lesbians are only "out" to select friends and family. NOT co-workers and others they deal with professionally. There is STILL a lot of prejudice and stigma. It was so much worse when Williams was alive. I do agree with Stampalia that the fact he never married and knew people who were gay does not prove anything. I also agree with Melissa Ward he quotes as saying that, even though she personally didn't think he was gay (yet she was merely an acting student of his!), "you can't really divide people into categories and put easy labels on them such as gay, straight, etc." However he stumbles a bit with this comment that all of the coincidences (i.e. unmarried, etc.) "are meaningless." No, nothing is meaningless. He then tries to come up with an alternative or, rather, a distracting answer: the fact that Williams kept changing agents more regularly than most actors who took their careers seriously suggested an "inability to form long lasting relationships, with film studios and people alike". Hhhmmmm... I will accept that answer only partially. I mean... he might do better going the President James Buchanan route. Historians agree that he may have been homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual but there isn't enough 19th century proof that he was even sexual. We just know that the president gave very gay parties in Washington D.C.
  6. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    What exactly does Stampalia say about Grant's private life? Are women discussed? I remember one of Cary Grant's ex-wives insisting he was very "straight" back on a late 1980s TV show and I am sure she was thinking of how good he was sexually with her and, yes, he loved certain women as equally as Randolph Scott. Not that I am suggesting they were anything but bro-buddies, mind you. Maybe they just did "W" instead of the other letters.
  7. Jlewis

    High Class Pornographic Films

    Regarding the Garbo shoe comment, I was also thinking of the famous line in Notting Hill when Julia Roberts comments to Hugh Grant about what "they" say about men with big feet. (Big feet means big shoes.) I should comment on this with the other thread... ... BUT, this is the thread using the word "pornographic" and I don't feel like starting a new thread for the moderators to supervise. On YouTube, there is an upload of Pornography: The Secret History Of Civilization that broadcast on Channel 4 in 1999 and is quite explicit in both discussion AND images. Therefore you will need to age verify to watch. Episode 4 is the one relating to this thread, focusing on the dawn of the "blue" movie at the start of the century through the '70s Golden Age when many were trying to elevate it as a form of art. Episode 5 continues into the 1980s and '90s when VHS took over, followed by the rise of the internet in the '90s in episode 6. Although it does NOT relate to movies, episode 1 is the most interesting. The excavation of Pompeii began mid-18th century and was a gradual and slow process, unlike more modern archeological digs. By the beginning of the Victorian Age, a spectacular effort was made to catalogue everything and instantly hide a ton of artifacts in "secret rooms" at both the Naples and London museums. Part of this was influenced by the French Revolution that happened between the start of the excavation and the all-important transitional period of the 1830s-50s when sex was hidden underground with a vengeance. As episode 2 discusses in detail, sexually explicit material was usually published in late 18th century/early 19th century France for political reasons and England was constantly in a state of panic over a possible revolution resembling its neighbor. Sex = revolution. The actual word "pornography" entered the Webster dictionary in, I think (since I would have to re-watch), 1857. This was about the same time that the first laws in the U.K. started defining what should be outlawed from public viewing and mail distribution. Amusingly there is a screen shot of the dictionary page in question with an image of a porcupine close by, since the first three letters are the same. What amuses me is that porcupines doing-what-comes-naturally are featured over the end credits of Bill Condon's Kinsey as well as being a continuing joke in Radley Metzger's classic Score. I don't know why, but this rodent keeps popping up in discussions about human sex.
  8. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    I will have to investigate Stampalia's book. I am curious about all of the new "hard" evidence proving he was "obviously" heterosexual. I am even MORE curious why Stampalia is so intent on stopping any speculations that Grant could have been gay. Maybe he personally has a hang-up about the issue himself? Oh... regarding the word "obviously" being used with the word "gay", you have to consider what the word "gay" means, apart from being happy and carefree. Many people do not consider themselves "gay" because they have never done "X" or "Y" with a member of the same gender although they might have done "W", which they think is not "gay" enough to be labeled "gay". Maybe they touched somebody of the same gender in a questionable way at some point in their lives... to satisfy some curiosity... or "took a peek" at people naked who shared similarities in plumbing systems... again, to satisfy a certain curiosity. Everybody has their own opinion of what defines being "gay". Hugh Hefner had no shame to his game and admitted in print he "tried it" with a guy (and I personally think that he tried a few more times than he admitted... "just to be sure"). He did it "for the experience" even though he still favored women more on his regular scheduled menu. To me, he is a perfect example of an "obviously" (obvious) heterosexual who was comfortable in who he was and wasn't terribly concerned about what the public thought of him. William Haines was "obviously" gay in more ways than one. (I always found it interesting how close his friendship was with Carole Lombard, who was married to... you know who.) Yet he refused to support the early pride marches in his last years, disliking how "out" the younger generation was.
  9. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    Richard Simmons is gay? I just thought he was always relentlessly happy. I only caught up with the comments on Kerwin Matthews. I did examine the online material on him a bit in the past. Of course, Bing Crosby had nothing to fear on the set of 7th Voyage Of Sinbad. From what I gathered, he lived his life much like Dick Sargent and Richard Chamberlain. He was comfortable in his relationships but also maintained the Hollywood "don't ask, don't tell" rule because it kept him employed. With Grant, there was definitely something bothering him. Adding to this was his religious upbringing. From many discussions online that I have read, it seems that he was intensely private and must have felt there was something to hide, whatever that was. Never married, using work as an "excuse". No, we should never jump to conclusions but he is one definitely worth questioning.
  10. Jlewis

    Grant Williams

    I read excerpts from a book involving same gender relationships, not always sexual but sometimes just intense friendships, that existed in America between the 1600s, the time Europeans invaded and sought to change the way the natives were living their lives, through early 1900s. The author argued that, at least during the 20th century, practically every historian had a motto of assuming that, given how private people were behind closed doors, everybody deceased must have been heterosexual unless proven otherwise. (Then again, some define heterosexuality and homosexuality strictly by what body parts are used with another person's body parts and not by attractions and desires alone.) This also seems to be the motto of many dedicated posters who are deathly afraid that their favorite movie icons of yesteryear weren't 100% "straight" like they perceive themselves to be... and want to perceive themselves to be. My impression from what I have read about Grant is that he was very conflicted and troubled in his private life. What exactly was going on behind closed doors can only be guessed.
  11. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    45 years ago this week... https://abcnews.go.com/US/video/prejudice-pride-revisiting-tragic-fire-killed-32-orleans-56014428
  12. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    What I do like about this movie is that it is so much more progressive than the equally popular La Cage Aux Folles and The Birdcage. In the other two films, the son of a gay father is never completely accepting and it is painful, rather than funny, to watch how both father and boyfriend must put on an act of "heteronormalcy" (even if the drag part is humorous) to please the future parents-in-law, even though they are less bigoted in the end than the actual son and future daughter-in-law who are younger and... we would expect... should be more enlightened. Here everybody stands up for themselves regardless of who they are (i.e. Julie's character only changes her persona for the stage act but is still herself). This even includes Lesley Anne Warren as the hilarious jealous-girlfriend. Garner's character admits that he has had homophobic issues but we see him evolve for the better. I especially like the scene when he is working out with Alex Karras' Squash, reminding me of Archie Bunker changing his views involving "fruits" and "queers" with his longtime "tough guy" friend, also revealed to be gay, in the landmark 1971 All In The Family episode that upset President Nixon at the time.
  13. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Also in the poster you feature above. Funny... it took me a while to notice it.
  14. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    I have not seen the first 1933 version in its entirety. Just YouTube extracts. Yet I read two reviews and Walbrook, I think, plays Garner’s role and also knows that the lead is a woman early on as well. Yet it would have been interesting if the newer film did get bolder by having a tough guy fall for a guy before realizing the truth. Joe E. Brown in the much earlier SOME LIKE IT HOT, after all, merely stated “nobody’s perfect” as if it was no big deal.
  15. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    ... and it is probably more entertaining that the 1933 German original. Yet the original is still blessed with Anton Walbrook of The Life And Death Of Col. Blimp and The Red Shoes fame.

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