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Ideas for LGBT essentials

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

The film critics were all too eager to toss this one into the dust.

Interestingly, the playwright kept the film rights.

He is now hoping to turn it into a Broadway musical.

But the drag performances of the three stars could not be bettered.

 

The movie feels like a musical with out songs

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On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 7:11 PM, rayban said:

The film critics were all too eager to toss this one into the dust.

Interestingly, the playwright kept the film rights.

He is now hoping to turn it into a Broadway musical.

But the drag performances of the three stars could not be bettered.

 

Just a couple more things to say, then we should probably return the thread to TB for its intended purpose. For people who haven't seen To Wong Foo, the fact that these actors play drag queens doesn't mean that occasionally we see three men throw on a frock and lip synch something onstage. The only one we ever see as a man is Patrick, stepping out of the shower and beginning his transformation under the credits. Wesley is seen in mid-transformation and John is seen fully transformed but carrying his wig, all under the credits. For the rest of the film all three are the characters of Veda, Noxema and Chi Chi in every aspect of their lives as they travel cross country in their (junky but fabulous) vehicle. These are sustained performances, totally in character and in a wide variety of situations, including encounters with police, bullies, a battered woman, and a shy closeted young man. Again, this movie is as far from being a joke as it could be, which makes the fact that it's so basically lighthearted and comedic all the more remarkable. The script, by the way, is especially witty and clever and, like any good drag queen, knows how to "go there".

Another side note: In both the pageant sequences which open and close the film in New York and then Los Angeles, the contestants all represent the cream of then current drag performers in each city. That's basically all the approval you need and confirmation that the filmmakers (Stephen Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, by the way) were on the right track, and the presence of RuPaul as the New York M.C. confirms the confirmation.  

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If the material is transformed into a big Broadway musical, perhaps, then, it will receive all the respect it should've gotten.

I agree, the three stars give remarkable performances.

Any of them could've received an Oscar nomination.

But how often would an actor in a outrageous comedy and playing a drag queen get such a nomination?

Did any of the actors in "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" receive an Oscar nomination?

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

If the material is transformed into a big Broadway musical, perhaps, then, it will receive all the respect it should've gotten.

I agree, the three stars give remarkable performances.

Any of them could've received an Oscar nomination.

But how often would an actor in a outrageous comedy and playing a drag queen get such a nomination?

Did any of the actors in "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" receive an Oscar nomination?

The real question is who should play the characters on Broadway.

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Just an update...

It's taken me awhile to narrow down my choices. But I have finally decided. In the essentials forum next month I will be covering:

9th of June: VICTIM (1961)...I intend to talk about how this film's theme was revisited last summer on an episode of the British soap EastEnders.

16th of June: VICTOR VICTORIA (1982)...not sure yet but I will probably focus more on Robert Preston's character than on Julie Andrews & James Garner.

23rd of June: MAURICE (1987)...the goal is to discuss some of Forster's novel in the first half then focus on Merchant-Ivory's film in the second half.

30th of June: JONATHAN (2016)...a slight reworking of a review I posted here in the LGBT sub-forum. I just really love this movie.

***

As I told Jlewis in a recent private message I want to focus on fictional films that have strong LGBT themes. I am deliberately staying away from "hetero" films that can be read as gay. That's because I feel a pride month celebration of films should contain overt references to LGBT subject matter, and not be themes that are hidden because of old Hollywood and have to be decoded.

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So upset that you are not including Australia's "Holding The Man" from 2015.

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

So upset that you are not including Australia's "Holding The Man" from 2015.

Where can I find it? I haven't seen it.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Where can I find it? I haven't seen it.

You can find it on Netflix - "Holding The Man" - 2015.

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There are a few interesting ones to be profiled at another time (so as not to disrupt all of The Plans here) that you can see on YouTube although the print quality may vary.

Before Stonewall, first shown in theaters on September 15, 1984 (just three weeks before the more famous Oscar winning Harvey Milk documentary), is unfortunately broken up in sections by different uploaders and is probably best seen on DVD. An hour is posted by one and the remaining 15 minutes by another. At that time, many who were closeted adults in the 1920s were still alive for interviewing and related what was going on in Greenwich Village and other inner city areas at the time. For a period, Germany was the most progressive country in terms of gay rights until Hitler swung the pendulum in the opposite direction. Also fascinating are the World War II years, U.S. side, when millions were forced to spend their working lives exclusively with members of the same gender in both the military and factory plants, prompting a new wave of interesting relationships. The WACs actually saw a lot more "action" than their male counterparts since women, on the whole, are more demonstrative in their affections both physically and emotionally. All of this got analyzed by Alfred Kinsey's team for those notorious books published post-war, which so many conservatives blame for the later "gay liberation".

Mentioned Christopher Larkins' A Very Natural Thing before. This film does require age verification, only partly due to some fleeting nudity but mostly due to the same sex affections, however innocent many scenes may seem to some of us. Yes, this is the reality on YouTube regarding a lot of "concerned" parents who can only accept their little tykes seeing heterosexuals doing "a very natural thing". Oh well... c'est la vie.

At the time of its filming (summer and autumn of 1973), a major campaign was being waged to remove same sex affections from the psychiatrist lists of mental disorders. This is an all-male version of The Way We Were, An Unmarried Woman, Love Story (but without any death scenes) and countless other "heteronormal" relationship pictures that dominated the decade; those obviously got all of the acclaim, press attention and box office dollars while this film was restricted to the inner-city Art House ghetto. Sadly both the lead star and the director were victims of the AIDS scourge, but there is tremendous optimism for the future in this film, as demonstrated by the Pride march that adds a documentary flavor to it.

A couple other interesting aspects of this film. The lead character first tries to be a monk, but decides to leave that life and just explore his sexuality regardless of any family rejection or conflicting religious beliefs. He is surprisingly confident in who he is, not unlike Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman, but certainly favors a long-term relationship rather than independence like her. A trip to a bath house does make him less prudish though. Like six or seven mainstream heterosexual films I have sat through over many decades, his second love-interest is a photographer with an "artistic mind", who was previously married to a woman and has a child whom he still has a good relationship with.

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I worked on my review for the Bogarde film today. I will post it here and in the Essentials forum on Saturday. Please check back.

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Here's what I wrote:

Essential: VICTIM (1961)

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I use creative ways to inventory my films. I had put this one on the same disc as a Jack Palance thriller called MAN IN THE ATTIC. I labeled it A Secret Life. Of course the secrets Palance keeps as Jack the Ripper are hardly like the secrets kept by Dirk Bogarde in VICTIM. Though you could say the lives of both men will unravel if certain indiscretions get 'out.'

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VICTIM did not see a stateside release until 1962 but it premiered in Great Britain a year earlier. As expected the groundbreaking film faced censorship issues. It probably would not have been made if an "A" list actor hadn't agreed to do it. Dirk Bogarde had been a huge star for over a decade, and this was a different kind of project for him. Risky in some ways because of the subject matter. Risky also because Bogarde was a closeted homosexual in real life. In those years it was still a criminal offense to be gay.

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Therefore Bogarde's willingness to take on the lead role in this film is worth commending, even if he had to act "straight" while playing gay. The story's quite simple. He plays a married man named Melville Farr who becomes linked with a known homosexual. Someone's found out about it and they have begun to blackmail him. Eventually he realizes his wife must be told. Sylvia Syms is cast as Laura the wife; and she brings a very sympathetic understanding to her portrayal.

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The scene where he finally confesses the truth is expertly handled. Once everything is out in the open, the plot lends itself to a tidy resolution, where the character's lust for other men is depicted more as a temporary aberration. Melville is not going to leave Laura at the end of the picture and live happily ever after with a lover, like we see in 1982's MAKING LOVE. Instead he will remain faithful to their marriage and they will have changed and grown because of all this.

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During the early 1960s men found to be having sexual relations with other men could be prosecuted. This probably explains why the writers chose to have the character remain married to a woman, and thus he would not go on breaking the law. Homosexuality was not decriminalized in Britain until 1967.

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In the summer of 2017 the British soap opera EastEnders commemorated the occasion when Johnny Carter (Ted Reilly) put a banner up outside his parents' pub to mark the 50th anniversary. Johnny was not compelled to do this until he had become friends with a retiring shop worker named Derek Harkinson (Ian Lavender) who described having been arrested in the 1960s before the law changed. It was a way for one generation of liberated gay men to remind another generation of the strides that had been made and to not take these strides for granted.

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VICTIM is directed by Basil Dearden; it's on Criterion Collection DVD.

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Melville Farr was attracted to Boy Barrett - but all he really did was pick him up at the bus stop and drive him home.

In his university days, he had been involved - not sexually, though - with a needy homosexual, who killed himself.

He'll stay with his wife - but it won't be the same.

She could allow him - some latitude.

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7 minutes ago, rayban said:

Melville Farr was attracted to Boy Barrett - but all he really did was pick him up at the bus stop and drive him home.

In his university days, he had been involved - not sexually, though - with a needy homosexual, who killed himself.

He'll stay with his wife - but it won't be the same.

She could allow him - some latitude.

Yes, the script keeps Melville Farr mostly "in the clear." I guess if he had slipped up too much, this couldn't have gotten by the censors in 1961.

I felt Sylvia Syms was well cast, but even the character of the wife is too perfect, too much in the clear about everything. I actually think most wives wouldn't be so understanding; they'd probably hit the panic button at first. Then as you indicated, she might eventually reach a point where she granted some latitude, if she intended to hold on to him and their marriage.

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Boy Barrett did not deserve his fate.

He kills himself - trying to protect the man that he loves.

victim-dxkemf.jpg

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I've finished writing the rough draft for my review on VICTOR VICTORIA. It was the fourth remake of VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA. TCM could do a whole evening of these films, if they're available.

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Here's the next review--

Essential: VICTOR VICTORIA (1982)

Blake Edwards' gender bending classic is a remake of the German film VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA. It's actually the fourth remake. When the story was first told in 1934 another production was filmed in French at the same time-- GEORGES ET GEORGETTE. The following year British movie makers turned out a version with Jessie Matthews called FIRST A GIRL. Then in 1957 the Germans redid it. Each time it was presented as a musical comedy; and of course, this is how Edwards presents it too.

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With Edwards it becomes more of a period piece. He's cast his wife Julie Andrews in the lead, and again she is shedding the wholesome image she cultivated in the 1960s as Mary Poppins and Maria von Trapp. Andrews' professionalism, her skill and her perfectionism give Edwards' picture something extra; and she earned her third Oscar nomination as Best Actress. Edwards was also nominated for an Oscar, for his adaptation; plus costars Robert Preston and Lesley Ann Warren netted Oscar nominations in the supporting performer categories.

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Despite seven total nominations only one Academy Award was bestowed on the picture, for Best Original Song Score. Andrews did earn a Golden Globe for her work. There was no Best Picture nomination. The year's Best Picture Winner was GANDHI. Professor Drew Casper at the USC School of Cinema-Television considered this a huge injustice, feeling VICTOR VICTORIA deserved a nomination and deserved to be named Best Picture. He felt GANDHI was the safer, more politically correct choice for 1982; and he was probably right.

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The cast includes a group of people who had worked together on previous projects. James Garner is on hand as a macho Chicago gangster who falls for Victor/Victoria. He had previously costarred with Julie Andrews in 1964's THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, where they played an entirely different couple. Meanwhile Robert Preston had acted with Andrews in Edwards' S.O.B. a year earlier and they seem to enjoy their time together; especially during the famous cockroach scene in the restaurant. Oh, and I should also mention they both use the same costume in two separate musical numbers.

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Since it's pride month, we might want to discuss the way Garner's character finds out the object of his affections is really a female. Supposedly Edwards wanted the gangster to fall in love with the impersonator before knowing for sure what his/her gender was. But Edwards claimed he chickened out and inserted a scene where Garner sees Andrews bathing in a hotel bathtub and thus knows she is totally a woman. Without this scene, the plot still has to build to everyone finding out she's not a man in drag, because fraud charges are filed later in the story.

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So eventually the gangster would have found out he was really in love with a female; and even if there had been no fraud charges, he still would have found out he was in love with a female when he went to bed with her for the first time. This was never going to be M BUTTERFLY where the true gender continued to be a mystery. In fact the only mystery is why TCM doesn't air VICTOR VICTORIA more often.

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And Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews got a second life out of this material when they turned it into a stage musical and then brought it to Broadway for a long run.

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17 hours ago, rayban said:

And Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews got a second life out of this material when they turned it into a stage musical and then brought it to Broadway for a long run.

I believe there is a filmed version of the 1995 stage production. I haven't seen it though.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I believe there is a filmed version of the 1995 stage production. I haven't seen it though.

It's out on DVD and it's worth a look- of course it's not as good as the movie but fun to watch and speaking of Andrews- she is so good in "Star" with Daniel Massey playing the gay icon Noel Coward. 

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8 minutes ago, jaragon said:

It's out on DVD and it's worth a look- of course it's not as good as the movie but fun to watch and speaking of Andrews- she is so good in "Star" with Daniel Massey playing the gay icon Noel Coward. 

Thanks for recommending it. I am going to review STAR! next month. In July my theme will be Classic Flops (films that failed at the box office but are still classics nonetheless).

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