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Straight Films That Are Actually Gay.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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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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.

I don't agree with all you posted here, but I clicked 'like' because you are making some persuasive arguments. But you do have to realise that even a film like BOYS IN THE BAND can be looked at from the reverse angle. It can be said that because Alan lovingly goes back home to his wife at the end and Michael is a wreck who needs drugs to cope, that it has to some extent a pro-straight slant and can be read that way.

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I don't agree with all you posted here, but I clicked 'like' because you are making some persuasive arguments. But you do have to realise that even a film like BOYS IN THE BAND can be looked at from the reverse angle. It can be said that because Alan lovingly goes back home to his wife at the end and Michael is a wreck who needs drugs to cope, that it has to some extent a pro-straight slant and can be read that way.

As I said, if you want to see it as a straight film, please, go ahead, by my guest.  With the passage of time, though, so many films can be seen differently than originally perceived.  A case in point, "Gilda" with Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready.  The film only makes sense IF Johnny (Ford) and Ballin (Macready) are lovers and IF Ballin decides to toy with Johnny by marrying Gilda.

In that way, you can finally understand Johnny's extreme antipathy toward Gilda, which she interprets as the fallout of their long-ago love affair. This film, early on, has one of the most outrageously gay lines ever spoken by one man to another - "I was born the night I met you in that alley."  .

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As I said, if you want to see it as a straight film, please, go ahead, by my guest.  With the passage of time, though, so many films can be seen differently than originally perceived.  A case in point, "Gilda" with Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready.  The film only makes sense IF Johnny (Ford) and Ballin (Macready) are lovers and IF Ballin decides to toy with Johnny by marrying Gilda.

In that way, you can finally understand Johnny's extreme antipathy toward Gilda, which she interprets as the fallout of their long-ago love affair. This film, early on, has one of the most outrageously gay lines ever spoken by one man to another - "I was born the night I met you in that alley."  .

Your ideas about GILDA are interesting. Not sure if it's all "there" within the text of the film, but it's plausible on some level.

 

Maybe Johnny was just born into a life of crime. And crime can cover a lot of different activities. 

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And, to add spice to the drama, Gilda never realized what was going on between Ballin and Johnny.

 

When, at the end, Johnny ends up with Gilda, you can only wonder how much he will punish her for causing him to lose Ballin.

 

Although, Ballin was quite obviously a sadist.

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And, to add spice to the drama, Gilda never realized what was going on between Ballin and Johnny.

 

When, at the end, Johnny ends up with Gilda, you can only wonder how much he will punish her for causing him to lose Ballin.

 

Although, Ballin was quite obviously a sadist.

Well if Johnny's going "straight" (In more ways than one) at the end of the movie, perhaps we can assume that he will have a better life with Gilda. 

 

Comparing George Macready to Rita Hayworth seems funny. For most, there is only one real desirable outcome. 

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Well if Johnny's going "straight" (In more ways than one) at the end of the movie, perhaps we can assume that he will have a better life with Gilda. 

 

Comparing George Macready to Rita Hayworth seems funny. For most, there is only one real desirable outcome. 

Yes, Johnny is going "straight", I'd say, but he and Gilda had been lovers once before.

 

Johnny liked it "rough", I think and Ballin was his man.

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Yes, Johnny is going "straight", I'd say, but he and Gilda had been lovers once before.

 

Johnny liked it "rough", I think and Ballin was his man.

But could you say that it's because Johnny & Gilda were lovers once before that he knew what he missed when he wasn't with her? I think we are led to believe, by the way the story ends (and the production code) that his time with Macready was not meant to last.

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But could you say that it's because Johnny & Gilda were lovers once before that he knew what he missed when he wasn't with her? I think we are led to believe, by the way the story ends (and the production code) that his time with Macready was not meant to last.

Yes, I agree with you, that your ending for "Gilda" is a definite possibility.  Johnny's time with Ballin was not meant to last. The guy was a definite sadist.  Maybe, suddenly, Gilda looked awfully good.  By marrying Gilda, Ballin was pretty rough on Johnny.   It is another reading of the ending.  Maybe two lost kids finally deserved a little happiness.

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Yes, I agree with you, that your ending for "Gilda" is a definite possibility.  Johnny's time with Ballin was not meant to last. The guy was a definite sadist.  Maybe, suddenly, Gilda looked awfully good.  By marrying Gilda, Ballin was pretty rough on Johnny.   It is another reading of the ending.  Maybe two lost kids finally deserved a little happiness.

Yeah, I can go along with that! :)

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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.

 

You know that 'Mike' angle isn't something I considered before.    Why was the gal in the picture given male names like Dusty and Mike?     As I pointed out often gay men in Production Code films were given female names (e.g. Carol in The Big Sleep),  so was the names associated with the Scott character hints of something I didn't notice?

 

Who knows but it is interesting to consider.

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You know that 'Mike' angle isn't something I considered before.    Why was the gal in the picture given male names like Dusty and Mike?     As I pointed out often gay men in Production Code films were given female names (e.g. Carol in The Big Sleep),  so was the names associated with the Scott character hints of something I didn't notice?

 

Who knows but it is interesting to consider.

Although Rip was far more involved with finding out the truth about his war buddy's death, he was becoming romantically involved with the Lizabeth Scott character.  And this beautiful, intriguing woman really gave out a lot of masculine vibes.  I think  in order to keep his distance from her and yet draw her much closer, too, Rip had to give her a male name - Mike.  He felt far more comfortable with her as Mike than as Dusty. When, at the end, Mike became a horribly duplicitious woman, Mike had to die - as Dusty.

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"Gilda" can also be a warning to young straight men who might have developed "gay" war time relationships that now it was time to go home and make babies with Rita Hayworth.

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"Gilda" can also be a warning to young straight men who might have developed "gay" war time relationships that now it was time to go home and make babies with Rita Hayworth.

That's certainly an interesting take on it.

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What's interesting about "Gilda", which is essentially a tale of a very twisted gay relationship and the woman who unknowingly got in the way of it, is that it made a star of a very voluptuous young woman, Rita Hayworrth.

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You know that 'Mike' angle isn't something I considered before.    Why was the gal in the picture given male names like Dusty and Mike?     As I pointed out often gay men in Production Code films were given female names (e.g. Carol in The Big Sleep),  so was the names associated with the Scott character hints of something I didn't notice?

 

Who knows but it is interesting to consider.

Your take on names, which actually indicate something else, is a very interesting one.  I like your example of the name of Carol in "The Big Sleep".  In "Gilda", Ballin can actually be word-play for "balling".  Ballin does do a lot of balling in "Gilda".  Of course, there is Johnny and then Gilda.  Busy guy!

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I don't want to make any kind of substantial case for this one - BUT -

 

thehangingtree7.jpg

 

(Gary Cooper (Dr. Frail) and Ben Piazza (Rune) - Dr. Frail has forced Rune to take care of him.)

 

"The Hanging Tree" has such persistent and lingering GAY SUBTEXT that is really impossible to ignore it.

 

Would the relationship between Dr. Frail and Rune ever blossom into an actual affair?

 

Only time would tell.

 

The closing shot is one of the most ambiguous ever.

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Both this thread and the Brokeback Mountain one force me to make another umpteenth trip to Midnight Cowboy again. (Everybody roll their eyes now... lol!)

 

When the one film lost to Crash in 2006, Time magazine had an opinionated column about how paranoid the Academy was despite choosing a much more provocative Best Picture 36 years earlier.

 

Why was Midnight Cowboy a "safe" film back in the sixties, but not Brokeback Mountain? Probably because the main character Joe Buck (Jon Voight) was doing everything possible not to be called "gay" (or the three letter F-word) even though he had no problem with the physical act itself. Had Rico not stopped him, he would have been OK hanging out with the cross-dresser... then he tells Rico how happy he is to have "protection". ("You sure know the ropes.") He had no problem going to a Times Square theater... until the closeted teenager (who didn't want his folks to know) couldn't pay for his services. Yet Joe had issues with Rico calling out his cowboy get-up by the three letter F-word and being appropriate only for gays (referencing John Wayne at one point). Later he has to "prove" to Brenda Vacarro the paying female customer that he isn't "gay", an actual word discussed while they played scrabble. He would have been OK satisfying the closeted businessman, but when he used religion as an excuse "not to" and didn't pay him actual money, Joe got upset and, eventually, strangled him. Bottom line, The Act wasn't the issue. Just The Word Usage... as if being called "gay" meant that you are less of a man. ("I ain't no real cowboy, but I'm one hellavah a s**d!")

 

It is also interesting that this film was released in May 1969, roughly one month before the Stonewall riots and the start of the Ferguson brothers trial over the murder of Ramon Novarro, which... despite exposing the star's private life, also marked one of the first times there was any sort of sympathy towards gay victims. Therefore, this Best Picture winner arrived a special turning point in American history... the end of an era when something was viewed as simply "bad" and a "mental condition" and the beginning of an era when people fought to be treated as equal human beings under the law. This makes Midnight Cowboy all the more interesting: this is a "gay" movie that keeps trying to prove it is a "straight"... even though it makes little difference. Time magazine stated (and I can't remember how they worded it exactly) that Joe was forced against his will to be something he was not (or didn't want to be identified as such), while the two leads in Brokeback were not feeling any guilt or shame as the conservative members of the Academy wanted them to.

Edited by Jlewis
Edited for Language
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