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jaragon

Gay Bait and Switch

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I'm getting a bit tired of studios using a gay character to sell a film and then either cut all obvious gay references or cut them out all together-in "Alien Covenant" which makes a big deal about the crew being made of up of couples- but unless you see the "The Last Supper" prologue on line you would never know that Lope and Hallet are suppose to be gay.  In "Star Trek" they made Sulu gay but his "husband" might as well have been his brother. 

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What do you think causes it? Not sure if reluctance is the word. But what makes them hold back from telling the complete story for these characters?

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What do you think causes it? Not sure if reluctance is the word. But what makes them hold back from telling the complete story for these characters?

Well, we don't know how much was shot for the gay storylines and how much of the footage hit the cutting-room floor.

 

For these sci-fi films that are marketed to teen males and twenty-somethings, I'd use three words - box-office receipts.

 

But how many of these guys (teens plus) know more than a little about gay sex?

 

I'd say that the filmmakers are deceiving themselves. 

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Well, we don't know how much was shot for the gay storylines and how much of the footage hit the cutting-room floor.

 

For these sci-fi films that are marketed to teen males and twenty-somethings, I'd use three words - box-office receipts.

 

But how many of these guys (teens plus) know more than a little about gay sex?

 

I'd say that the filmmakers are deceiving themselves. 

 

Yes, I think it's financially motivated. They probably have formulas at the studios that films with gay references or explicit gay storylines only average so much at the box office.

 

I remember in the 90s I read that the producers of a Mel Gibson movie said because he showed his naked backside, the film automatically brought in $10 million extra at the box office. And so that's what he did in many of his subsequent films, because they had hit on a "formula" that they were sure to get $10 million back right off the top if he showed his derriere.

 

By comparison, they probably know what things cost them $10 million (or more)-- and I'd say two men kissing in a mainstream blockbuster might cost them that much. Since it will automatically cause some people not to go watch it if they hear from others that such a scene is in the movie. So we have producers ever mindful of the box office and it determines content, the risks that are taken and what is left on the cutting room floor.

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I remember in the 90s I read that the producers of a Mel Gibson movie said because he showed his naked backside, the film automatically brought in $10 million extra at the box office. And so that's what he did in many of his subsequent films, because they had hit on a "formula" that they were sure to get $10 million back right off the top if he showed his derriere.

 

 

And what was that film that showed Kevin's bacon? I think that helped with the box office as well, though I don't remember the name of it.

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And what was that film that showed Kevin's bacon? I think that helped with the box office as well, though I don't remember the name of it.

The name of that film was "Wild Things".

 

And "Kevin's bacon" looked like it could become a wild thing.

 

kevinbaconwildthings.jpg

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Talking about "Deathtrap", Christopher Reeve said that the kiss between Michael Caine and himself, as reported in "Time" magazine, thus, ruining the plot surprise, was referred to as "the ten million dollar kiss", which was an estimate of what the kiss cost them in local ticket sales.

 

deathtrap.jpg

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I don't know the reason in the case of"Alien Covenant" which was co written by John Logan a gay man seriously I don't think it would have affected the box office. It's a bloody action sci fi horror movie- the two men are supporting characters- what I find interesting is that in on line prologue, the novelization of the script and in making off books the characters romantic-sexual relationship is clearly stated.

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Well, we don't know how much was shot for the gay storylines and how much of the footage hit the cutting-room floor.

 

For these sci-fi films that are marketed to teen males and twenty-somethings, I'd use three words - box-office receipts.

 

But how many of these guys (teens plus) know more than a little about gay sex?

 

I'd say that the filmmakers are deceiving themselves. 

The online prologue was directed by Ridley Scott's son so maybe the older director might have an issue with gay characters (?!)

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"Gilda" - 1946 - King Vidor

 

Glenn Ford acknowledged that he and George Macready played their roles as a pair of infatuated gay lovers - Ballin and Johnny - but the film insists on the overlay of a failed heterosexual romance - Gilda and Johnny - but Ballin is a bisexual man with a hurtful streak - he likes to torture others - and Johnny is a drifter who's found a savior in Ballin - he'll push Gilda out if he can.

 

movie-scene1.jpg

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"Gilda" - 1946 - King Vidor

 

Glenn Ford acknowledged that he and George Macready played their roles as a pair of infatuated gay lovers - Ballin and Johnny - but the film insists on the overlay of a failed heterosexual romance - Gilda and Johnny - but Ballin is a bisexual man with a hurtful streak - he likes to torture others - and Johnny is a drifter who's found a savior in Ballin - he'll push Gilda out if he can.

 

movie-scene1.jpg

The relationship between the two men in "Gilda" has a very strong gay subtext

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The relationship between the two men in "Gilda" has a very strong gay subtext

 

Right at the beginning, Ford says to Macready, down at the docks, after Macready unsheathes the blade on his walking stick, "You must lead a gay life."  This is a gay movie through and through -- text, not subtext!

 

And look at this shot, just before Ford says (interior monologue) "I know about American sailors..."

 

7225-2.jpg

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Right at the beginning, Ford says to Macready, down at the docks, after Macready unsheathes the blade on his walking stick, "You must lead a gay life."  This is a gay movie through and through -- text, not subtext!

 

And look at this shot, just before Ford says (interior monologue) "I know about American sailors..."

 

7225-2.jpg

Rita Hayworth of course is a great advertisement for heterosexuality ;).    

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Rita Hayworth of course is a great advertisement for heterosexuality ;).    

 

Right. So Gilda​ is an example of "straight" bait and switch. Even though the atmosphere may have seemed a little murky and sleazy, the audience had the reassuring presence of one of the premiere female sex symbols of the day. She was an alternate lens through which most of the audience would have viewed the proceedings. I've mentioned ​Desert Fury ​before in another thread, and Lizabeth Scott had a similar function in that movie. Small-time hood John Hodiak returns to town with Wendell Corey in tow, whom he met late at night in some dive, went home with and has been with ever since. Lizabeth is the old flame and starts hovering around, which p-isses Wendell Corey off big time. She insinuates herself into their digs where we learn that Wendell is the "housekeeper", but not very good one. (The one bed is very much in disarray.) Mary Astor does a kind of Sidney Greenstreet turn as the local mover and shaker who fancies herself as the boss of everybody. Burt Lancaster is the local lawman and acts as a reassuring straight presence who's above these tawdry goings-on. Like Gilda​, it's a hot gay mess with a straight overlay and it was the bait and switch of having the sexy femme fatale at the center which helped it go over with audiences.

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Right. So Gilda​ is an example of "straight" bait and switch. Even though the atmosphere may have seemed a little murky and sleazy, the audience had the reassuring presence of one of the premiere female sex symbols of the day. She was an alternate lens through which most of the audience would have viewed the proceedings. I've mentioned ​Desert Fury ​before in another thread, and Lizabeth Scott had a similar function in that movie. Small-time hood John Hodiak returns to town with Wendell Corey in tow, whom he met late at night in some dive, went home with and has been with ever since. Lizabeth is the old flame and starts hovering around, which p-isses Wendell Corey off big time. She insinuates herself into their digs where we learn that Wendell is the "housekeeper", but not very good one. (The one bed is very much in disarray.) Mary Astor does a kind of Sidney Greenstreet turn as the local mover and shaker who fancies herself as the boss of everybody. Burt Lancaster is the local lawman and acts as a reassuring straight presence who's above these tawdry goings-on. Like Gilda​, it's a hot gay mess with a straight overlay and it was the bait and switch of having the sexy femme fatale at the center which helped it go over with audiences.

This is a classic situation in Hollywood films- a woman is used to straighten out the relationship between bromantic partners.

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Right. So Gilda​ is an example of "straight" bait and switch. Even though the atmosphere may have seemed a little murky and sleazy, the audience had the reassuring presence of one of the premiere female sex symbols of the day. She was an alternate lens through which most of the audience would have viewed the proceedings. I've mentioned ​Desert Fury ​before in another thread, and Lizabeth Scott had a similar function in that movie. Small-time hood John Hodiak returns to town with Wendell Corey in tow, whom he met late at night in some dive, went home with and has been with ever since. Lizabeth is the old flame and starts hovering around, which p-isses Wendell Corey off big time. She insinuates herself into their digs where we learn that Wendell is the "housekeeper", but not very good one. (The one bed is very much in disarray.) Mary Astor does a kind of Sidney Greenstreet turn as the local mover and shaker who fancies herself as the boss of everybody. Burt Lancaster is the local lawman and acts as a reassuring straight presence who's above these tawdry goings-on. Like Gilda​, it's a hot gay mess with a straight overlay and it was the bait and switch of having the sexy femme fatale at the center which helped it go over with audiences.

I must see this movie. 

 

Is it ever on TCM?

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This is a classic situation in Hollywood films- a woman is used to straighten out the relationship between bromantic partners.

And none morseo than the fairly recent comedy, "I Love You, Man".

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I must see this movie. 

 

Is it ever on TCM?

 

I transferred it to DVD from a VHS I recorded off of AMC many years ago. It hasn't been on TCM since I've been a subscriber, so I'm not sure why it's not out there. Rights issues?

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I transferred it to DVD from a VHS I recorded off of AMC many years ago. It hasn't been on TCM since I've been a subscriber, so I'm not sure why it's not out there. Rights issues?

You are one lucky dude!

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Desert Fury​ was a Paramount release, so it could eventually be part of the slow drip drip drip of Paramount films to TCM. Someone in the comments section of the TCM database said that it was available on Criterion, but that no longer seems to be the case. It was one of Wendell Corey's first roles (maybe the first) and he got the wounded, jealous lover just right. It's never clear whether the relationship was situational and casual on John Hodiak's part, but there's no question that Wendell Corey's character was all in. He was all raw nerves, begging Hodiak to go away with him so it could be just the two of them again. Before I saw this I'd felt Wendell Corey was pretty bland and interchangeable as an actor, but this performance really opened my eyes to his talent.

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Desert Fury​ was a Paramount release, so it could eventually be part of the slow drip drip drip of Paramount films to TCM. Someone in the comments section of the TCM database said that it was available on Criterion, but that no longer seems to be the case. It was one of Wendell Corey's first roles (maybe the first) and he got the wounded, jealous lover just right. It's never clear whether the relationship was situational and casual on John Hodiak's part, but there's no question that Wendell Corey's character was all in. He was all raw nerves, begging Hodiak to go away with him so it could be just the two of them again. Before I saw this I'd felt Wendell Corey was pretty bland and interchangeable as an actor, but this performance really opened my eyes to his talent.

There's a similar situation in a John Wayne Western, "Chisum" between John Wayne and Ben Jonson.

 

Interestingly, John Wayne is named "Chisum" and Ben Jonson is named "Pepper".

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There's a similar situation in a John Wayne Western, "Chisum" between John Wayne and Ben Jonson.

 

Interestingly, John Wayne is named "Chisum" and Ben Jonson is named "Pepper".

 

There's a terrific documentary by Mark Rappaport from the late 1990's called ​Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender. ​He covered how Hollywood both dealt with and managed not to deal with homosexuality and one of the sections was about what he called "the Walter Brennan Syndrome", in which the hero's sidekick (usually an older man) did everything he could to steer the hero away from women and back to the old life they had when it was just the two men. He used lots of clips to support his ideas. There's also a very interesting section about male screen teams like Hope and Crosby and Martin and Lewis.

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"The Birdcage" (1996)- this is very well made slick Hollywood remake of "La Cage Aux Folles) and while on the surface is celebrates and exploits gay culture it's curiously sexless.   Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert ( Nathan Lane) have been a couple for twenty years but in the movie they don't even kiss.  Yes I know it was the 90's but in the poster - Nathan Lane who plays the drag queen is wearing a suit?!  I imagine this is how they were selling the movie to middle America.  The movie is funny- but the character of the son comes across as rather hateful

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A few days back I saw a re-run of Will and Grace;  this one featured Patrick Dempsey as a gay man whose profession was pro-sports.     Will falls for Dempsey.   Dempsey finally gets his dream job as a news sportscaster,    but pro-sports being a homophobic industry,  Dempsey doesn't wish to out himself.    Will shows up at a sporting event and Dempsey introduces him as his brother.

 

Grace is very negative towards Dempsey (hatefully IMO) and really pushes Will to dump the guy.   I felt Grace lacked comparison as it relates to what Dempsey was going through.    Some (many\most?) male athletes wouldn't accept a gay man in the locker room.   Dempsey wouldn't even be able to get interviews.     Clearly if Dempsey came out, he would have been fired. 

 

So to me this situation was a lot more complex and delicate then how the show portrayed it, especially Grace's view towards and treatment of Dempsey.   

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