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TCM spotlight on 'gay hollywood'-- June 2017

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We were just talking about this yesterday-- how it had been a while (ten years) since TCM had a retrospective on gay images. I'm happy to say they are doing another round of films this coming June. Some of the selections are rather interesting.

 

screen-shot-2017-03-10-at-10-27-46-am1.p

 

thursday june 1, 2017

just a gigolo (1931) with william haines

waterloo bridge (1931) with douglass montgomery, directed by james whale

the women (1939) with marjorie main, directed by george cukor

no time for love (1943) with claudette colbert, directed by mitchell leisen

christopher strong (1933) with katharine hepburn, directed by dorothy arzner

there goes my heart (1938) with patsy kelly

 

friday june 2, 2017

ben-hur: a tale of the christ (1925) with ramon novarro

storm at daybreak (1933) with kay francis

 

thursday june 8, 2017

night and day (1946) with monty woolley, based on the life of cole porter

words and music (1948) with tom drake

rope (1948) with john dall & farley granger, directed by alfred hitchcock

the razor's edge (1946) with clifton webb, based on material by somerset maugham

a place in the sun (1951) with montgomery clift

 

friday june 9, 2017

summer stock (1950) with marjorie main, directed by charles walters

the enchanted cottage (1945) with mildred natwick

 

thursday june 15, 2017

rebel without a cause (1955) with james dean & sal mineo, directed by nicholas ray

all that heaven allows (1955) with rock hudson, directed by douglas sirk

cat on a hot tin roof (1958) with judith anderson

nowhere to go (1958) with george nader

the seventh sin (1957) with ellen corby

les girls (1957) directed by george cukor

 

friday june 16, 2017

sincerely yours (1955) with liberace

 

thursday june 22, 2017

gypsy (1962) with lyrics by stephen sondheim

billy liar (1963) directed by john schlesinger

suddenly, last summer (1959) with montgomery clift

psycho (1960) with anthony perkins, directed by alfred hitchcock

west side story (1961) directed by jerome robbins

 

friday june 23, 2017

i could go on singing (1963) with dirk bogarde

ride the wild surf (1964) with tab hunter

 

thursday june 29, 2017

who's afraid of virginia woolf? (1966) with sandy dennis, based on material by edward albee

the loved one (1965) with robert morse

the year of living dangerously (1982) with linda hunt

torch song trilogy (1988) with harvey fierstein, based on his own material

valentino (1977) based on the life of rudolph valentino

 

friday june 30, 2017

cabaret (1972) directed by bob fosse

the catalina caper (1967) with tommy kirk

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Tonight, on TCM, Richard Burton goes "gay" in "Staircase" and "Villain".

 

Do you find Burton to be authentic (enough) in these portrayals?

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This is a pretty puzzling lineup. This time around it seems as though they're programming films which would maybe appeal to a gay "sensibility" rather than films with actual gay content, as well as films with stars or directors whom we now know (or suspect) to be gay. Why Gypsy, other than the fact that Sondheim is gay and "gays like musicals"? Ride the Wild Surf? Sure, Tab Hunter and the Fabulous Fabian look great in bathing suits, but teasing us with eye candy isn't really honoring Gay History Month. We now know, due to a public death by AIDS, that Liberace was gay, but in Sincerely Yours he had not one but two leading ladies (Joanne Dru and Dorothy Malone). (Although, come to think of it, William Demerest was about as gay as you can get in that movie, taking his bubble bath with a cigar in his mouth.)

 

Does anyone know who's hosting? How this particular slate of films is curated could make all the difference. Each of these films could provide discussion points, so the discussion will be all. I hope this will be a success, but right now I have a wait-and-see attitude. But I'm joining the chorus of appreciation for the fact that TCM is doing this again after ten years.

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This is a pretty puzzling lineup. This time around it seems as though they're programming films which would maybe appeal to a gay "sensibility" rather than films with actual gay content, as well as films with stars or directors whom we now know (or suspect) to be gay. Why Gypsy, other than the fact that Sondheim is gay and "gays like musicals"? Ride the Wild Surf? Sure, Tab Hunter and the Fabulous Fabian look great in bathing suits, but teasing us with eye candy isn't really honoring Gay History Month. We now know, due to a public death by AIDS, that Liberace was gay, but in Sincerely Yours he had not one but two leading ladies (Joanne Dru and Dorothy Malone). (Although, come to think of it, William Demerest was about as gay as you can get in that movie, taking his bubble bath with a cigar in his mouth.)

 

Does anyone know who's hosting? How this particular slate of films is curated could make all the difference. Each of these films could provide discussion points, so the discussion will be all. I hope this will be a success, but right now I have a wait-and-see attitude. But I'm joining the chorus of appreciation for the fact that TCM is doing this again after ten years.

 

Right. I think some of the choices are a bit unusual. I would've found something more substantial to put in GYPSY's place. Even if they were insisting on using a Natalie Wood picture, INSIDE DAISY CLOVER would have been slightly more relevant. And instead of I COULD GO ON SINGING, I would have chosen Dirk Bogarde's groundbreaking film, VICTIM. 

 

I went back and looked at the Screened Out series. It was tied in to the publication of a new book, which had the benefit of an author's painstaking research and a certain overall thesis. In this case, I think it's like you are indicating-- they are just picking things that generally will appeal to gay viewers (or at least they think these films will do that).

 

I laud them for doing another retrospective and we'll find out more when we learn who's hosting it...but I'd prefer something a bit deeper and not necessarily so 'mainstream.'

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I guess the real Virginia Woolf referenced in the title of WHO'S AFRAID OF...? applies, but anything gay in that movie is way too nebulous.

 

Even the Screened Out series ten years ago was very nebulous. THE SPORT PARADE merely had dudes in various states of undress in a locker room, but not showing any real curiosity towards each other.

 

Isn't VICTIM being shown?

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This is a pretty puzzling lineup. This time around it seems as though they're programming films which would maybe appeal to a gay "sensibility" rather than films with actual gay content, as well as films with stars or directors whom we now know (or suspect) to be gay. Why Gypsy, other than the fact that Sondheim is gay and "gays like musicals"? Ride the Wild Surf? Sure, Tab Hunter and the Fabulous Fabian look great in bathing suits, but teasing us with eye candy isn't really honoring Gay History Month. We now know, due to a public death by AIDS, that Liberace was gay, but in Sincerely Yours he had not one but two leading ladies (Joanne Dru and Dorothy Malone). (Although, come to think of it, William Demerest was about as gay as you can get in that movie, taking his bubble bath with a cigar in his mouth.)

 

Does anyone know who's hosting? How this particular slate of films is curated could make all the difference. Each of these films could provide discussion points, so the discussion will be all. I hope this will be a success, but right now I have a wait-and-see attitude. But I'm joining the chorus of appreciation for the fact that TCM is doing this again after ten years.

The line-up is very, very strange - and I strongly doubt that the stars' "homosexuality" will be discussed.

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Right. I think some of the choices are a bit unusual. I would've found something more substantial to put in GYPSY's place. Even if they were insisting on using a Natalie Wood picture, INSIDE DAISY CLOVER would have been slightly more relevant. And instead of I COULD GO ON SINGING, I would have chosen Dirk Bogarde's groundbreaking film, VICTIM. 

 

I went back and looked at the Screened Out series. It was tied in to the publication of a new book, which had the benefit of an author's painstaking research and a certain overall thesis. In this case, I think it's like you are indicating-- they are just picking things that generally will appeal to gay viewers (or at least they think these films will do that).

 

I laud them for doing another retrospective and we'll find out more when we learn who's hosting it...but I'd prefer something a bit deeper and not necessarily so 'mainstream.'

When TCM recently screened "Deathtrap", Ben Mankiewicz gave no, NO indication that we were about to see a groundbreaking GAY FILM.

 

When TCM last screened "Deathtrap", Robert Osborne went out of his way to tell us that the poor, POOR actors who had to kiss each other - Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve - had to get drunk in order to do that scene.

 

Quite the lie! 

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I guess the real Virginia Woolf referenced in the title of WHO'S AFRAID OF...? applies, but anything gay in that movie is way too nebulous.

 

Even the Screened Out series ten years ago was very nebulous. THE SPORT PARADE merely had dudes in various states of undress in a locker room, but not showing any real curiosity towards each other.

 

Isn't VICTIM being shown?

Of course, "Victim" IS NOT BEING SHOWN - it is way too gay for TCM!

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No, not for this series. I think it should have been included.

TCM is not going to discuss homosexuality - "Victim" might necessitate a discussion of Melville Farr's submerged homosexuality and Dirk Bogarde's own homosexuality. 

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When TCM recently screened "Deathtrap", Ben Mankiewicz gave no, NO indication that we were about to see a groundbreaking GAY FILM.

 

When TCM last screened "Deathtrap", Robert Osborne went out of his way to tell us that the poor, POOR actors who had to kiss each other - Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve - had to get drunk in order to do that scene.

 

Quite the lie! 

 

... and Mankiewicz over discussed it when presenting Staircase.

 

Victim was shown in 2007 when they did this before. Also The Killing of Sister George and The Boys in the Band.

 

I am surprised they didn't include Morocco and Queen Christina even though they were mostly heterosexual romances that just happen to have ladies kissing on the lips and our stars in masculine outfits. It is nice to see at least one Ramon Novarro and Billy Haines in the mix. Now... I remember TopBilled mentioning about Leonard Whiting getting too long of a bottom focus in Romeo and Juliet, but I wonder if the happily married heterosexual W.S. Van Dyke didn't have an equal obsession with Ramon in The Pagan, a more interesting choice than Ben Hur. They could have used Mata Hari with both Ramon and Greta as well.

 

They should have added more sixties films when it was no longer a hidden subject, but maybe they got nervous with the new administration in power. Don't want TCM to become the "fake movies" network.

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Tonight, on TCM, Richard Burton goes "gay" in "Staircase" and "Villain"

 

Burton seemed gayer eyeballing Clint Eastwood in "Where Eagles Dare"

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We were just talking about this yesterday-- how it had been a while (ten years) since TCM had a retrospective on gay images. I'm happy to say they are doing another round of films this coming June. Some of the selections are rather interesting.

 

screen-shot-2017-03-10-at-10-27-46-am1.p

 

thursday june 1, 2017

just a gigolo (1931) with william haines

waterloo bridge (1931) with douglass montgomery, directed by james whale

the women (1939) with marjorie main, directed by george cukor

no time for love (1943) with claudette colbert, directed by mitchell leisen

christopher strong (1933) with katharine hepburn, directed by dorothy arzner

there goes my heart (1938) with patsy kelly

 

friday june 2, 2017

ben-hur: a tale of the christ (1925) with ramon novarro

storm at daybreak (1933) with kay francis

 

thursday june 8, 2017

night and day (1946) with monty woolley, based on the life of cole porter

words and music (1948) with tom drake

rope (1948) with john dall & farley granger, directed by alfred hitchcock

the razor's edge (1946) with clifton webb, based on material by somerset maugham

a place in the sun (1951) with montgomery clift

 

friday june 9, 2017

summer stock (1950) with marjorie main, directed by charles walters

the enchanted cottage (1945) with mildred natwick

 

thursday june 15, 2017

rebel without a cause (1955) with james dean & sal mineo, directed by nicholas ray

all that heaven allows (1955) with rock hudson, directed by douglas sirk

cat on a hot tin roof (1958) with judith anderson

nowhere to go (1958) with george nader

the seventh sin (1957) with ellen corby

les girls (1957) directed by george cukor

 

friday june 16, 2017

sincerely yours (1955) with liberace

 

thursday june 22, 2017

gypsy (1962) with lyrics by stephen sondheim

billy liar (1963) directed by john schlesinger

suddenly, last summer (1959) with montgomery clift

psycho (1960) with anthony perkins, directed by alfred hitchcock

west side story (1961) directed by jerome robbins

 

friday june 23, 2017

i could go on singing (1963) with dirk bogarde

ride the wild surf (1964) with tab hunter

 

thursday june 29, 2017

who's afraid of virginia woolf? (1966) with sandy dennis, based on material by edward albee

torch song trilogy (1988) with harvey fierstein, based on his own material

arthur (1981) with john gielgud

valentino (1977) based on the life of rudolph valentino

the year of living dangerously (1982) with linda hunt

 

friday june 30, 2017

cabaret (1972) directed by bob fosse

it's a bikini world (1967) with tommy kirk

Perhaps the gay angle refers to the filmmakers  not the film content- I mean what is the gay connection in "It's a bikini world"?

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I wish they had included some fine made for tv movies with gay subjects like " That Ceartain Summer" with Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen as lovers and " An Early Frost" with Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara dealing with son Aidan Quinn's coming out and AIDs

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Here is how the Washington Post reviewed TCM's Screen Out on June 4, 2007. Although Bush was still in office, there was a pushing of the pendulum on network TV. Maybe good ol' Robert had something to do with this?

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/03/AR2007060301382.html?hpid=sec-artsliving

 

I am just going to excerpt some of the better comments.

 

By now it's a truism. The history of homosexuality in America has a natural dividing line -- before Stonewall and after Stonewall, BS and AS. However it sounds to the naked ear, "Stonewall" was not a prison but a gay bar in Lower Manhattan. New York cops tried to stage one of their quotidian raids there in June of 1969, but this time clientele balked, refusing to leave or be carted off to jail and instead staging a riot that lasted for days.

 

It was the homosexual equivalent of Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of a bus. Or, to be less reverent about it, the gay Boston Tea Party.

 

So much for the real history; how about America's communal fantasy life? It seems obvious: Gays in film divide naturally before "Brokeback Mountain" and after it -- BBM and ABM (or ICBM?). "Brokeback Mountain" may not be the most sophisticated, intelligent or even most resonant big-scale mainstream movie about gay life and love, but as an event it towers over most others, and it seemed to commit fewer of the reigning stereotypes and cliches to celluloid than any other major film had ever done.

 

The film is nowhere to be seen, but is likely to be frequently discussed, as part of "Screened Out: Gay Images in Film," a Gay Pride Month series featuring major or minor homosexual characters that starts tonight on Turner Classic Movies, dazzling best of all entertainment cable channels. "Brokeback" has aired frequently in recent months on such standard movie channels as HBO (on Logo, the weak-kneed gay and lesbian channel, it was severely censored).

 

And program notes for "Screened Out" indicate that those who put the series together may think it still too soon to name an all-time, definitive watershed: "Despite the occasional success of a 'Brokeback Mountain,' the movies are still grappling. 'Screened Out' . . . can serve as a prologue to everything still being discussed both on and off the screen." One hundred years and still in the "prologue" stage? It hardly sounds like the gayllennium has arrived.

 

Part of the problem, as the impressive collection of films will show (with screenings Wednesdays as well as Mondays through June 27), is that for years gays on film were invisible, transparent, illusory. They weren't there. Tonight's selections will show that there was a gay presence (albeit often negative) in silent movies -- going back to "Algie, the Miner," the 1912 oddity that kicks off the festival at 8. TCM describes Algie as "an effeminate Easterner who makes his fortune out West."

 

The article then gets into all of the stereotypes like the "prissies" in movies like Broadway Melody.

 

TCM's festival will include such one-of-a-kind eye-poppers as "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), John Huston's nervous attempt to film a loopy, cuckoo novel by Carson McCullers. In the film (just about to be released on DVD), Marlon Brando, brandishing his least identifiable regional accent yet, plays a sexually repressed Army officer who is married to Elizabeth Taylor but pines for young Robert Forster, a private fond of riding bareback in the moonlight.

 

"Staircase," a classic of a very peculiar sort from 1969, stars Richard Burton and Rex Harrison as two aging men ("queens" in the vernacular) who are like many another married couple -- gifted marksmen when it comes to the cheap shot -- except both are men. Who gets top billing? Check the opening credits and prepare to be made dizzy by the way Burton and Harrison's names blend into each other as both fade into the distance like those "Star Wars" prologues.

 

The series lineup includes serious films that stand the test of time even if certain references are dated (1970's landmark "Boys in the Band," for instance) and such sensationalized treatments of closeted gays as Otto Preminger's 1962 Washington drama "Advise and Consent," which includes a scene set in what must be the world's most depressing and underfurnished gay bar. The festival concludes on June 27 with Robert Aldrich's titillating "The Killing of Sister George" (1968), whose brief lesbian seduction scene is so modular and self-contained that it could easily be removed in states where censorship boards still survived.

 

Yeah... they really wanted to present a history lesson back then and educate. Not sure what the motto is now, but we should count what blessings there are... I guess.

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Perhaps the gay angle refers to the filmmakers  not the film content- I mean what is the gay connection in "It's a bikini world"?

Tommy Kirk is a gay man, that's it.

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Here is how the Washington Post reviewed TCM's Screen Out on June 4, 2007. Although Bush was still in office, there was a pushing of the pendulum on network TV. Maybe good ol' Robert had something to do with this?

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/03/AR2007060301382.html?hpid=sec-artsliving

 

I am just going to excerpt some of the better comments.

 

By now it's a truism. The history of homosexuality in America has a natural dividing line -- before Stonewall and after Stonewall, BS and AS. However it sounds to the naked ear, "Stonewall" was not a prison but a gay bar in Lower Manhattan. New York cops tried to stage one of their quotidian raids there in June of 1969, but this time clientele balked, refusing to leave or be carted off to jail and instead staging a riot that lasted for days.

 

It was the homosexual equivalent of Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of a bus. Or, to be less reverent about it, the gay Boston Tea Party.

 

So much for the real history; how about America's communal fantasy life? It seems obvious: Gays in film divide naturally before "Brokeback Mountain" and after it -- BBM and ABM (or ICBM?). "Brokeback Mountain" may not be the most sophisticated, intelligent or even most resonant big-scale mainstream movie about gay life and love, but as an event it towers over most others, and it seemed to commit fewer of the reigning stereotypes and cliches to celluloid than any other major film had ever done.

 

The film is nowhere to be seen, but is likely to be frequently discussed, as part of "Screened Out: Gay Images in Film," a Gay Pride Month series featuring major or minor homosexual characters that starts tonight on Turner Classic Movies, dazzling best of all entertainment cable channels. "Brokeback" has aired frequently in recent months on such standard movie channels as HBO (on Logo, the weak-kneed gay and lesbian channel, it was severely censored).

 

And program notes for "Screened Out" indicate that those who put the series together may think it still too soon to name an all-time, definitive watershed: "Despite the occasional success of a 'Brokeback Mountain,' the movies are still grappling. 'Screened Out' . . . can serve as a prologue to everything still being discussed both on and off the screen." One hundred years and still in the "prologue" stage? It hardly sounds like the gayllennium has arrived.

 

Part of the problem, as the impressive collection of films will show (with screenings Wednesdays as well as Mondays through June 27), is that for years gays on film were invisible, transparent, illusory. They weren't there. Tonight's selections will show that there was a gay presence (albeit often negative) in silent movies -- going back to "Algie, the Miner," the 1912 oddity that kicks off the festival at 8. TCM describes Algie as "an effeminate Easterner who makes his fortune out West."

 

The article then gets into all of the stereotypes like the "prissies" in movies like Broadway Melody.

 

TCM's festival will include such one-of-a-kind eye-poppers as "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), John Huston's nervous attempt to film a loopy, cuckoo novel by Carson McCullers. In the film (just about to be released on DVD), Marlon Brando, brandishing his least identifiable regional accent yet, plays a sexually repressed Army officer who is married to Elizabeth Taylor but pines for young Robert Forster, a private fond of riding bareback in the moonlight.

 

"Staircase," a classic of a very peculiar sort from 1969, stars Richard Burton and Rex Harrison as two aging men ("queens" in the vernacular) who are like many another married couple -- gifted marksmen when it comes to the cheap shot -- except both are men. Who gets top billing? Check the opening credits and prepare to be made dizzy by the way Burton and Harrison's names blend into each other as both fade into the distance like those "Star Wars" prologues.

 

The series lineup includes serious films that stand the test of time even if certain references are dated (1970's landmark "Boys in the Band," for instance) and such sensationalized treatments of closeted gays as Otto Preminger's 1962 Washington drama "Advise and Consent," which includes a scene set in what must be the world's most depressing and underfurnished gay bar. The festival concludes on June 27 with Robert Aldrich's titillating "The Killing of Sister George" (1968), whose brief lesbian seduction scene is so modular and self-contained that it could easily be removed in states where censorship boards still survived.

 

Yeah... they really wanted to present a history lesson back then and educate. Not sure what the motto is now, but we should count what blessings there are... I guess.

Positive gay images in movies are not as common as they should be- television seems be much more inclusive look at "Riverdale"

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Christopher Reeve was EXTREMELY PERSUASIVE as a young gay man in "Deathtrap".

 

Quite obviously, he had no trouble with his scenes.

 

Christopher Reeve on playing gay:

 

"I think the problem is with other people. I've been used to straights playing gays and vice versa all my life so it seems pretty ordinary to me. People aren't freaked out by homosexual characters on the stage or the screen if they emerge as compelling, real people that the audience can identify with on other levels."

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Positive gay images in movies are not as common as they should be- television seems be much more inclusive look at "Riverdale"

 

... and sadly only a small number of "inclusive" shows get shown on major networks, although CW has a broader base than most. With the movies, it was the independent productions (often shown at Sundance and only select cities in distribution) that pushed forward in the 1980s and '90s despite the Hollywood Establishment getting cautious and going back to Teen Wolf and Michael J. Fox's "I am not a ---, I am a werewolf" mentality. I think Brokeback Mountain was just Hollywood testing the waters after seeing what was working with the indy crowd. Because a huge chunk of revenue comes from overseas rather than US theaters and many countries are even more conservative than here, there is very little sex or intimate relationships of any kind in mainstream films. The focus is more on action and special effects.

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The line-up is very, very strange - and I strongly doubt that the stars' "homosexuality" will be discussed.

They may be forced to, since some of the choices seem to have been made solely on the basis of the star's gayness, as in the cases of Dirk Bogarde, Liberace, Tommy Kirk, George Nader, etc. They've backed themselves into a corner, unless they merely intend to let the films run without much discussion at all. Or maybe they'll be braver than we're anticipating, which would be wonderful. This would be the perfect opportunity to bring Tab Hunter under the TCM umbrella, by having him give some commentary about the specific problems faced by gay actors in the studio system (and after). He's not getting any younger and, if you ask me, TCM should have made use of him by now.

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... and sadly only a small number of "inclusive" shows get shown on major networks, although CW has a broader base than most. With the movies, it was the independent productions (often shown at Sundance and only select cities in distribution) that pushed forward in the 1980s and '90s despite the Hollywood Establishment getting cautious and going back to Teen Wolf and Michael J. Fox's "I am not a ---, I am a werewolf" mentality. I think Brokeback Mountain was just Hollywood testing the waters after seeing what was working with the indy crowd. Because a huge chunk of revenue comes from overseas rather than US theaters and many countries are even more conservative than here, there is very little sex or intimate relationships of any kind in mainstream films. The focus is more on action and special effects.

"Brokeback Moutain"did not open the flood gates to studio made gay theme films- they are still trying to get " A Different Runner" produced.  I think liberal Hollywood is more comfortable with backing projects that deal with race relations- look at "Moonlight" it was not only after the film got it's well deserve Oscar for best picture that gay angle was mentioned.

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"Brokeback Moutain"did not open the flood gates to studio made gay theme films- they are still trying to get " A Different Runner" produced.  I think liberal Hollywood is more comfortable with backing projects that deal with race relations- look at "Moonlight" it was not only after the film got it's well deserve Oscar for best picture that gay angle was mentioned.

 

Only if they are cheap. Moonlight was made for peanuts.

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They may be forced to, since some of the choices seem to have been made solely on the basis of the star's gayness, as in the cases of Dirk Bogarde, Liberace, Tommy Kirk, George Nader, etc. They've backed themselves into a corner, unless they merely intend to let the films run without much discussion at all. Or maybe they'll be braver than we're anticipating, which would be wonderful. This would be the perfect opportunity to bring Tab Hunter under the TCM umbrella, by having him give some commentary about the specific problems faced by gay actors in the studio system (and after). He's not getting any younger and, if you ask me, TCM should have made use of him by now.

 

I would like to hear Tommy Kirk discuss with Ben how Uncle Walt canned him after coming out. Who's the Monkey's Uncle now?

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