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Allhallowsday

WORD IS OUT (1977) on TCM 11:45pm EST - TONIGHT

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I watched it; I saw it 42 years ago on PBS.  It's powerful.  No comments...  Where are all them WOKE people? 

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People can probably be forgiven for waiting until the next morning to respond. You're right; it was (and always has been) a very powerful example of the range of problems average gay people faced in their daily lives, even after the "gay liberation" movement was well underway. Dave Karger and Alonso Duralde spoke at length about the Mariposa Film Group, a collective of gay filmmakers who individually went on to distinguish themselves in other projects, as recently as the Linda Ronstadt documentary which played at many film festivals last year. The film's intimacy is especially noteworthy, coming from a time when it was even more of a singular act of courage to speak out and identify yourself than it is today. 

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8 hours ago, Allhallowsday said:

I watched it; I saw it 42 years ago on PBS.  It's powerful.  No comments...  Where are all them WOKE people? 

This is a question you are asking others, not us.

I've been beating the drum about this film in the LGBT sub-forum. I created a whole thread about this series when it was first revealed on TCM's monthly schedule. So I've been woke about it long before we had discussions urging others to become more woke, more alert, more socially conscious.

I hope others had a chance to watch it last night. And I certainly hope it winds up on Watch TCM or else is rebroadcast.

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55 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This is a question you are asking others, not us.

Who might these "others" be?  I was asking TCM's forum, but you've clarified that WORD IS OUT had been discussed previously.  I was surprised to see this scheduled, and glad.  I advised anyone I knew personally that it would be on. 

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

People can probably be forgiven for waiting until the next morning to respond. You're right; it was (and always has been) a very powerful example of the range of problems average gay people faced in their daily lives, even after the "gay liberation" movement was well underway. Dave Karger and Alonso Duralde spoke at length about the Mariposa Film Group, a collective of gay filmmakers who individually went on to distinguish themselves in other projects, as recently as the Linda Ronstadt documentary which played at many film festivals last year. The film's intimacy is especially noteworthy, coming from a time when it was even more of a singular act of courage to speak out and identify yourself than it is today. 

Oh, you're quite right.  I started this thread when I saw WORD IS OUT was on, and came back to the forum when it was over.

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3 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

Oh, you're quite right.  I started this thread when I saw WORD IS OUT was on, and came back to the forum when it was over.

Got it.  I was just teasing. I was glad to see someone had posted about it in General Discussions because sometimes this kind of subject matter is pretty much relegated to way down yonder in the sub-forums. Word Is Out is definitely a film meant for general viewership and the passage of time has only made the quiet dignity of these people all the more haunting. Some of the subjects were active in gay causes and continued to be for the rest of their lives, but others were just ordinary people trying to negotiate what could be some very rough terrain in order to live in peaceful obscurity. Thanks for posting this thread.

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5 minutes ago, DougieB said:

Got it.  I was just teasing. I was glad to see someone had posted about it in General Discussions because sometimes this kind of subject matter is pretty much relegated to way down yonder in the sub-forums. Word Is Out is definitely a film meant for general viewership and the passage of time has only made the quiet dignity of these people all the more haunting. Some of the subjects were active in gay causes and continued to be for the rest of their lives, but others were just ordinary people trying to negotiate what could be some very rough terrain in order to live in peaceful obscurity. Thanks for posting this thread.

Dougie,

I had also mentioned it in the TCM and Other Sources for Classic Film thread. But yes, it deserves more attention.

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29 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

Who might these "others" be?  I was asking TCM's forum, but you've clarified that WORD IS OUT had been discussed previously.  I was surprised to see this scheduled, and glad.  I advised anyone I knew personally that it would be on. 

Not sure who the others might be. But it did seem like you were taking a swipe at woke culture in your earlier post and of course that would probably not go unchallenged.

Glad you are a proponent of the film.

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Sounds interesting.  But I missed it.  Hope TCM replays it soon and at a time more convenient for me to see it.  Reading a summary of it elsewhere it seems as if it would now be a bit anachronistic.  But too, I know people who still haven't let their views catch up with the times and they also are anachronistic.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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22 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Sounds interesting.  But I missed it.  Hope TCM replays it soon and at a time more convenient for me to see it.  Reading a summary of it elsewhere it seems as if it would now be a bit anachronistic.  But too, I know people who still haven't let their views catch up with the times and they also are anachronistic.  ;) 

Sepiatone

How would a documentary which reflects the era in which it was made be anachronistic? 

Perhaps you mean dated, instead of anachronistic.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 9.28.51 AM

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Fellow posters DougieB and jaragon have shared some thoughtful observations about last night's fare, and how the films were presented in the wraparounds with Dave Karger and his guests:

 

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Not sure who the others might be. But it did seem like you were taking a swipe at woke culture in your earlier post and of course that would probably not go unchallenged.

Glad you are a proponent of the film.

This is what you wrote: 

"This is a question you are asking others, not us." 

I don't know what you meant. 

And, no, I was not taking a swipe at "woke culture".  I've been a member of "woke culture" most of my adult life, long before snappy terms like "woke" including supporting once unpopular causes that are now trendy.  I could however see how you might also see it as a swipe at you. 

11 hours ago, Allhallowsday said:

Where are all them WOKE people? 

Though I doubt anyone noticed, I did write recently here that I was "not trendy". 

 

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I didn't watch Word is Out but I did see Victim (again, but first time for my wife).     With regards to the ending and the commentary by the guest host:   to me the guest host provided a somewhat dated (or many 'standard' is better) response to the question of the type of marriage the man and women had and why would decide to continue with the arrangement.     i.e. that it must be platonic;    that the man was gay.   That he and the women got married when they were young and he didn't know himself,,,,,   but since they have developed a deep platonic love,,, they will remain together in a platonic relationship.

Another way to look at this is  more modern (hip dare I say),  view about sexuality;  that it is more fluid than hardcoded,  and for some very fluid;   I.e.  the man was bisexual,  fell in love and was committed to that love and marriage and  fidelity.        This wasn't a platonic relationship.   He was faithful (didn't have sex with either men or women),  PERIOD.

This POV is now being pushed by some like Kristen Steward and a Jonas bros wife.      I don't know if I fully understand it but I find it interesting. 

Of  course I have no clue what the intentions of the producers \ director where (or if they even had one,,, which is often the case,,,, but us viewers often insist on finding one).

 

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19 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Of  course I have no clue what the intentions of the producers \ director where (or if they even had one,,, which is often the case,,,, but us viewers often insist on finding one).

I believe the producers daringly were addressing a subject - still illegal activity in the UK at the time - and probably wanted to make the film accessible to general audiences. 

DIRK BOGARDE was certainly brave to take on that thankless role.  I had seen it as well, but looked at bits of it last night. 

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11 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

I believe the producers daringly were addressing a subject - still illegal activity in the UK at the time - and probably wanted to make the film accessible to general audiences. 

DIRK BOGARDE was certainly brave to take on that thankless role.  I had seen it as well, but looked at bits of it last night. 

Oh,  I understood the overall intentions of making the film and what it was trying to communicate  (which is stressed at the very end when the blackmailer mocks the gay man when Bogarde's character tells the lead police officer that this man is a victim).       The law about being homosexual was removed  6 years later in 1967. 

I was talking about what their intention was with the ending and having the man and wife continue on with their marriage \ relationship.     

I.e. is the only logical assumption that this is a platonic relationship?     That is what I'm questioning.   

PS:   maybe it would have been even more controversial to show that humans can be bisexual (with fidelity no less!)  instead of just a male homosexual in a platonic marriage.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I was talking about what their intention was with the ending and having the man and wife continue on with their marriage \ relationship.     

I.e. is the only logical assumption that this is a platonic relationship?     That is what I'm questioning.   

Actually, I never had the impression their relationship was platonic, but I am left with an impression of bisexuality.   If so, that was indeed forward thinking. 

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Just now, Allhallowsday said:

Actually, I never had the impression their relationship was platonic, but I am left with an impression of bisexuality.   If so, that was indeed forward thinking. 

Yes, that is the impression I had,  but the guest host stated the relationship was platonic.    So it was this guest host that I found to be NOT forward thinking.   (and he was clearly added as a guest host to give the impression TCM and he,  were forward thinking).      That is why I'm commenting on that.

 

 

 

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There's a sequence in the middle of the film, after the slur is painted on the garage door, when Sylvia Sims' character is being questioned by her brother.  He asks "But what has this marriage meant for you?   Have you been satisfied?"   She answers "Yes. Yes.  He's very kind and understanding."   He retorts "That's not what I mean.  Have you found real love, Laura?"  She answers with a hesitant yes.

This is trying to get at the sex question, but 1960 cinema can only go so far.  And we don't get a clear answer, for love and sex are often conflated, especially in this era of film making. 

We know Farr had some type of same-sex relationship before they married, as it's revealed earlier in the film (when Farr went to the flat with 3 high-profile blackmail victims to get more information) that a young man named Stana killed himself, with the implication being over a broken love affair, while Farr kept his rather lofty position in society.

In Farr's confession scene, after she learned why Barrett had been calling, she says "It's Phil Stana all over again."  Farr goes on to say "When we were married, we had no secrets from each other.  I made you a promise then.   I haven't broken that promise, if that's what you mean."  Farr also states that his attraction towards Barrett was not love, but it appears Laura doesn't believe him.  She certainly believes Barrett loved Farr.  I don't think Farr believes in same-sex love.

So, married at age 19, Laura is aware of Farr's past, but whether she fully understood or not is questionable, I think.  The promise Farr made prior to marriage?  Most probably not to act on his same-sex attraction.  We'll never know if their marriage was platonic.   It certainly was convenient for Farr, until it wasn't.

My favorite scene is where Farr tells his assistant about the blackmail episode.  His non-reaction is the most forward-thinking scene in the film.

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54 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

There's a sequence in the middle of the film, after the slur is painted on the garage door, when Sylvia Sims' character is being questioned by her brother.  He asks "But what has this marriage meant for you?   Have you been satisfied?"   She answers "Yes. Yes.  He's very kind and understanding."   He retorts "That's not what I mean.  Have you found real love, Laura?"  She answers with a hesitant yes.

This is trying to get at the sex question, but 1960 cinema can only go so far.  And we don't get a clear answer, for love and sex are often conflated, especially in this era of film making. 

We know Farr had some type of same-sex relationship before they married, as it's revealed earlier in the film (when Farr went to the flat with 3 high-profile blackmail victims to get more information) that a young man named Stana killed himself, with the implication being over a broken love affair, while Farr kept his rather lofty position in society.

In Farr's confession scene, after she learned why Barrett had been calling, she says "It's Phil Stana all over again."  Farr goes on to say "When we were married, we had no secrets from each other.  I made you a promise then.   I haven't broken that promise, if that's what you mean."  Farr also states that his attraction towards Barrett was not love, but it appears Laura doesn't believe him.  She certainly believes Barrett loved Farr.  I don't think Farr believes in same-sex love.

So, married at age 19, Laura is aware of Farr's past, but whether she fully understood or not is questionable, I think.  The promise Farr made prior to marriage?  Most probably not to act on his same-sex attraction.  We'll never know if their marriage was platonic.   It certainly was convenient for Farr, until it wasn't.

My favorite scene is where Farr tells his assistant about the blackmail episode.  His non-reaction is the most forward-thinking scene in the film.

Well said;    Yea,  that scene with Farr and his assistant where the assistant doesn't need to ask questions because he know his employer is a stand-up-human-being, PERIOD,  is very moving.   

The only thing I somewhat question in your post is: It certainly was convenient for Farr, until it wasn't. 

If the marriage was platonic,    and Farr wasn't getting-some outside the marriage,   I fail to see how that was convenient for him (for either of them).   

I guess that is one reason I don't wish to view the marriage as platonic;  I wish to view both of them as strong healthy adults,  but if she settled for a platonic relationship,,  well she should have just married her brother!   (and he should have got-some outside of marriage,,, discretely of course!).

 

        

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1 minute ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Well said;    Yea,  that scene with Farr and his assistant where the assistant doesn't need to ask questions because he know his employer is a stand-up-human-being, PERIOD,  is very moving.   

The only thing I somewhat question in your post is: It certainly was convenient for Farr, until it wasn't. 

If the marriage was platonic,    and Farr wasn't getting-some outside the marriage,   I fail to see how that was convenient for him (for either of them).   

I guess that is one reason I don't wish to view the marriage as platonic;  I wish to view both of them as strong healthy adults,  but if she settled for a platonic relationship,,  well she should have just married her brother!   (and he should have got-some outside of marriage,,, discretely of course!).

 

        

I don't know if the marriage was platonic or not.   My guess is that it was not platonic, but they probably didn't have sex very often.  Laura's not entirely sure she's happy, apparently.   Her world was shattered, but she probably was dreading the day all along.   It's hard to tell because of the restrictions of the day on depicting this in film.

By convenient, I meant it was convenient for him from a career perspective.  It provided cover for the whispers going around town about his past (there were more than a few that knew about the Stana incident).   He was in a visible public position, and was expected to be named a QC  (fewer than 200 QCs in England in 1960).  Even the policeman indicated early in the picture (once they discovered Barrett's scrap book was all about Farr) that being married means little in these cases.  Most people, at that time, would have expected (and would have been expected by others) to marry.  He broke off the Barrett affair because he didn't want it to go too far (as far as it did with Stana?) and damage his marriage and career, which ended up happening anyway (most likely).  After testifying in court against the blackmailers, he would surely have taken a career detour.

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34 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

I don't know if the marriage was platonic or not.   My guess is that it was not platonic, but they probably didn't have sex very often.  Laura's not entirely sure she's happy, apparently.   Her world was shattered, but she probably was dreading the day all along.   It's hard to tell because of the restrictions of the day on depicting this in film.

By convenient, I meant it was convenient for him from a career perspective.  It provided cover for the whispers going around town about his past (there were more than a few that knew about the Stana incident).   He was in a visible public position, and was expected to be named a QC  (fewer than 200 QCs in England in 1960).  Even the policeman indicated early in the picture (once they discovered Barrett's scrap book was all about Farr) that being married means little in these cases.  Most people, at that time, would have expected (and would have been expected by others) to marry.  He broke off the Barrett affair because he didn't want it to go too far (as far as it did with Stana?) and damage his marriage and career, which ended up happening anyway (most likely).  After testifying in court against the blackmailers, he would surely have taken a career detour.

Ok,  that makes sense to me about "convenient".     I guess where I got confused was that it would have been more convenient for him if she knowingly played the role of 'beard' for him.   

  Of course none of us can know if the marriage was platonic or not (hey,  it a fictional marriage after all).    This is why I said that I didn't wish to believe it was;   my own personal feelings about love,  partnership,  marriage and sex,,, drive my perspective. 

 

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5 hours ago, Allhallowsday said:

This is what you wrote: 

"This is a question you are asking others, not us." 

I don't know what you meant. 

And, no, I was not taking a swipe at "woke culture".  I've been a member of "woke culture" most of my adult life, long before snappy terms like "woke" including supporting once unpopular causes that are now trendy.  I could however see how you might also see it as a swipe at you. 

Sorry but I think you were taking a swipe at woke culture. It's not something I take personally but just felt it necessary to clarify the meaning behind your remarks. Though if you're going to be snarky about it, then I guess it's not worth it. Is it? :) 

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

Sorry but I think you were taking a swipe at woke culture. It's not something I take personally but just felt it necessary to clarify the meaning behind your remarks. Though if you're going to be snarky about it, then I guess it's not worth it. Is it? :) 

To use a recent thread observation, that's not a very "woke" comment, is it?

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I saw parts of it and found it very interesting. And being 43 years old it's also a bit of a time

capsule from the late 1970s. I recognized Jill Johnston, who wrote for The Village Voice

and was fairly well known in feminist circles in the 1960s and 1970s. She looked a bit like

Joni Mitchell in this film. I got a kick out of the woman with the beehive do and the woman

she was in a relationship with, who was dressed like a man. Sitting together on a couch they

look like Mr. and Mrs. Suburban Squares, which I doubt was the impression they meant to

give. 

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