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Posts posted by jaragon

  1. Ken Russell's "Crime of Passion" might not be considered a gay movie- but it has plenty of gay elements specially behind the scenes.  Kathleen Kennedy leads a double life uptight lady by day outrageous hooker by night. She is China Blue who makes her clients fantasies come to life. Anthony Perkins who is way over the top plays a preacher obsessed with saving her even if it means  murder.  John Laughlin escapes his sexless marriage to Annie Potts by starting a relationship with China Blue- but he wants love and she has other ideas.  Written by Barry Sandler the gay scriptwriter of  "Making Love" the film might have been more serious than the end results.   Ken Russell knows how to make sex both erotic and outrageous.   The film is out on blu ray from Arrow video and it has the complete film including the often cut scene in which China Blue rapes a cop with his own nightstick.  


  2. 3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

    Interesting you mention Peter Strauss. He was brilliant in the Rich Man Poor Man miniseries.

    I watched an episode of The Streets of San Francisco last night. He was playing a prosecutor that learns his father was on the mob's payroll. He was great in all his scenes, especially with William Windom.

    Screen Shot 2020-07-11 at 10.16.11 AM.jpeg


    Strauss was a good actor but Nick Nolte was smoking hot in  "Rich Man Poor Man"

    • Like 1

  3. 3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

    Okay. I don't typically associate Vidal with religion. Could it also be that the young protagonist is a pillar of the community, despite his moving from one location to the next? That he's not unsavory.

    Interesting point- yes to the straight world Jim would be considered the pillar of the community who lives in a small town so the city would represent his inner gay live?  Vidal had literary aspirations so he probably wanted a serious lit title .

    • Like 1

  4. 1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

    Interesting. So what do you guys think the title means. Is it symbolic in any way? Why did Vidal give the story this particular title?

    It's a Biblical reference...."Two additional themes identified by Dennis Bolin are the foolishness and destructiveness of wishing for something that can never be and to waste one's life dwelling on the past, the second of which is reinforced by the novel's epigraph from the Book of Genesis 19:26 "But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt." 

  5. 26 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

    I haven't read the book. What are the characters' ages supposed to be? Would there be any roles for actors over 50?

    Maria is suppose to be forty so 1950's  Taylor might be too young.  Peter is closer to Jim's age so he would be late twenties.   Robert Shaw could be fifty.

    • Thanks 1

  6. 51 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

    Who would you select for the supporting roles?

    Good question- the roles are Robert Shaw a closeted Hollywood star who keeps looking for love in all the wrong places.... Maria a glamorous straight lady who keeps falling for gay men and Peter a neurotic gay intellectual who drinks to much and sabotages his love life.  If I was doing in classic Hollywood I see Elizabeth Taylor as Maria. Anthony Perkins would be Peter. 

    • Like 1

  7. 11 hours ago, ronnoco28 said:

    I first began hearing about The City and the Pillar back in the late seventies when I began coming out into the gay community, but I never had the motivation to read it.  I considered it an old and outdated book. My first gay novel was City of Night, which I read when I was in the Army, and kept well-hidden in my billet.  Some years later, I read Dancer From the Dance, and The Best Little Boy in The World.  Those were the books that defined my coming out experience in the late seventies and early eighties.  It wasn't until a few years ago that a friend of mine was moving, and downsizing, and gave me some of his old books, including The City and The Pillar. It was a few months later that I got around to reading it.  I actually enjoyed it immensely.  The novel begins in the late 1930s, and covers approximately the next 10 years or so, the period  during and after World War II.  But the story of Jim Willard and Bob Ford is essentially timeless, and holds up as well as ever.  They start out as teenagers in high school, and are in their late twenties by the end.  I'd welcome seeing it as a movie, or as a miniseries. As mentioned in an earlier post, Vidal revised the book a  number of years after he'd written it, and changed the ending to make it less  bleak and desolate, though it still ends on a sad note.

    I enjoyed seeing Gore Vidal in Gattaca. It's unfortunate that he's now deceased. He could have played the role of  Mr. Willard (Jim's father) quite well.


    "City of Night" by John Rechy is a very good  hot book you would really have to tone down the sex to get an R rating.  I love "The Best Little Boy in the World" which is very funny.  I never could get into "Dancer from the Dance" maybe there was too much disco dancing.   There is a memorable chapter in Rechy's book about a marine's experience in Hollywood-  now that's a book that could make a good Netflix series.  You are right about Vidal's acting. 

    • Like 1

  8. 2 hours ago, DougieB said:

    Plus I think The Lost Language of Cranes was done for British television, not for theaters. I know I saw it first on PBS, so I assumed it was from the BBC. There are so many platforms now doing original programming for television and streaming, so it's possible. The public doesn't always know what it wants but then when something like last decade's multi-part adaptation of Mildred Pierce shows up they embrace it. I'm generally a fan of Ryan Murphy's choices, so it might be something he could champion. Or Todd Haynes, who has a track record with period pieces. (Sorry, TopBilled. I can feel you cringing, so apologies in advance.)

    Yes "The Lost Language of Cranes" was a dull made for tv production  (I loved the book so was very disappointed it was not set in New York).  Todd Haynes has done similar material with "Far From Heaven" and the cold as ice "Carol". 

    • Like 1

  9. 1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

    James Ivory still writes screenplays, yes? I bet he could adapt it. Then they'd just need someone young and visionary to direct it.

    It shouldn't have to be done as a miniseries or a telefilm. It could easily be a feature film that plays festivals and art houses. And then gets nominated for a truckload of Oscars.

    James Ivory is an excellent choice for screenplay.  I would make a feature, get an unknown for the lead and cast some name actors in the supporting roles- there are at least three juicy Oscar bait roles.

    • Like 1

  10. 52 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

    Would it have worked as a Merchant-Ivory adaptation? 

    They made "Maurice" which was more their style .  I was thinking these new producers and directors don't read the classics anymore.  They would rather adapt something new or remake something - like the new production of " Boys in the Band" we really don't need another movie version of that play- but now it's  a marketable property.   You would have to find a producer or a director with the clout to make "The City and the Pillar" .  It's a period piece so it's not going to be cheap.   These projects usually get made in England- like "The Lost Language of Cranes" which is very American New York novel but the movie is set in London. 

    • Like 1

  11. 25 minutes ago, DougieB said:

    You're so right. Gore Vidal and James Baldwin were the writers whose careers survived early novels with gay themes at a time when it wasn't likely that (A) they'd even be published at all or that (B) they'd be given a second chance. But their talent was undeniable and they both eventually thrived.  Your also right that Hollywood was waaaay behind the literary world. We now know that talented gay actors, like Tab and Rock Hudson, were available and it's a shame they never got the kind of opportunities they may have excelled at. 

    I had read "The City and the Pillar" before it affected me more this time.  The book is very daring specially on how it deal with Jim's sexuality.   I'm sure for readers in 1948 they expected gays in Hollywood but not in the Army and the Navy.  Vidal who was in the service makes this explicit.  The young Tab Hunter would have been perfect for the lead but of course that film was no going to be made in the 1950's but  I am surprised that nobody has made a movie out it by now.   But this is true of many gay lit classic like James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room"(1956) .  These are works that deal with timeless themes and have not dated.   Vidal always said the book derailed his literary career  and that is why he had to go to Hollywood and make money as screenwriter.

    • Like 2

  12. Gore Vidal's novel  "The City and the Pillar" would make an interesting movie.  I just re-read it and realized how shocking this book must have been in 1948.  Jim, the protagonist is not just the All American boy next door who happens to be gay but he also does not seem to have any shame about his homosexual desire.  The novel traces Jim's quest to reconnect with his teenage crush which leads him on a tour of gay American culture of the period. from Hollywood, to the army to New York high society.   The book has not dated at all and Jim's romantic obsession is timeless.  Vidal revised the novel in the 60's and changed to original darker ending.   The censors would have never allowed the film to be made in 1950's but I keep imagining Tab Hunter as Jim.

    • Like 2

  13. Victor Erice's "The Spirit of the Beehive" (1973) is a haunting poetic film about Ana (Ana Torrent) a little girl who lives in a Spanish village in 1940.  This is a slow moving poetic film nothing much happens/  Fenrnado ( Fernado Fernan Gomez) is a bee keeper. Ana her sister Isabel attend school and play games.   A traveling movie projectionist screens James Whale Frankenstein and the monster haunts Ana's imagination. Beautifully crafted the movie captures the arid Castillian landscape and the slow pace of another time.  We see the action through the child's big brown eyes.   The film is available in fine two disc DVD from the Criterion collection. 

  14. 14 hours ago, Arsan404 said:

    I rented the VHS a long time ago. The only part I remember is that we didn't finish watching the movie because we thought it was so bad. I might watch it again, but only if it's for free.

    The movie is truly inept- in almost every way acting, directing, writing. but once in a while you get a moment that works- or a stunning shot of the Utah scenery.   You can watch it for free on You  Tube.

    • Like 1

  15. "Don't Go In the Woods...Alone!" (1981) may be the most inept slasher ever made.  One is never sure if this is suppose to be a comedy or just bad film making.  A group of obnoxious hikers wonder around a forest getting slaughtered by some deranged mountain man.   There is no story so we never know why the killings are taking place.  The movies has plenty of bloody death scenes but they are thrown in with out reason.  There are a lot of intentional funny scenes- a woman walking around a house coat in the forest but others are of questionable taste like a poor guy hiking in his wheelchair .  The film has been given up a first rate blu ray treatment by Vinegar Syndrome. The print has some stunning Utah locations which could have been put to a better use.  The movie has an annoying musical score which is more reason to scream than any thing on screen.


    • Like 1

  16. 2 hours ago, DougieB said:

    I just watched him in Mysterious Island the other day, fighting off those giant bees. He wore loose-fitting cut-offs for a lot of it and I kept expecting a "wardrobe malfunction". There seems to have been quite a lot of dancing in those clips, especially that spectacular split. Do you know if he had either training or a career as a dancer before movies? He aged well too, which not all the teen idol types did. He looked even better with his face fleshed out a little. 

    I only knew him from "Mysterious Island" and did not realized he had such an extensive career.  He must have started out as a dancer because he moves very well

    • Like 1

  17. On 6/16/2020 at 12:00 PM, TopBilled said:

    I've seen THE BOYS IN THE BAND. It was on YouTube a few years ago, but didn't stay posted long. I am glad I had a chance to see it.

    Last year, if I am not mistaken, TCM had put it on the schedule during Pride Month, but then it was replaced by a Rita Moreno film called THE RITZ (1976).

    One of the actors from "Boys in the Band" makes a cameo in "Cruising"

  18. The special edition of "Crusing" is worth getting for the stunning image clarity alone- you can really see what's going on in those leather clubs now.  There are two good extras which go into the making and controversy surrounding the film.  The commentary by William Friedkin is a bit dry but he does explain why he made all these choices about confusing the true identity of the killer. 

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