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I finally saw this infamous comedy about two straight bros Danny (Kevin Coughlin) and Eliot (Larry Casey)  who pretend to be gay in order to avoid the draft.  Yes it's very cartoonish with bright over the top  colors and political incorrect humor that would never swish in our woke times but it's also very funny at times.  Michael Greer as Malcon the flaming landlord gets most of the laughs.  The film is homophobic but what do you expect from the period it was made, The boys insist they are "normal" but nobody believes them.   Casey who was in the "Rat Patrol" is used as a sex  object and spends a great deal of time in swimming trunks.   He also feels the dark side of gay life pre-Stonewall  era.  He is fired from his life guard job because he might pervert the children.   This is a silly movie from another time but it still works on sit com level

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They've toyed with this kind of **** as recently as 2007 (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with Adam Sandler and Kevin James), though I think you're right that it would be suicidal to do something like it at this particular "woke" moment. I have a feeling that The Gay Deceivers may have been (slightly) better on paper than in the finished product; as filmmaking, it's amateurish. It shows how starved gay people were at the time for any gay content, no matter how (intentionally or unintentionally) homophobic the context. It never could have gotten made if it couldn't attract a portion of the straight movie audience too, which meant gays had to be a target of the humor. (But, as you said, what do you expect from the period?) As you pointed out, the bright spot is Michael Greer, who was definitely one of the first to flourish as an out gay actor. He was memorable in Fortune and Men's Eyes, but I remember him primarily as a brilliant impressionist and club performer. He did a particularly spot-on Tallulah Bankhead and I still have his album, Tallulah in Heaven, in which Tallu is assigned to the switchboard in Heaven and risks the wrath of God for the liberties she takes.

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2 hours ago, DougieB said:

They've toyed with this kind of **** as recently as 2007 (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with Adam Sandler and Kevin James), though I think you're right that it would be suicidal to do something like it at this particular "woke" moment. I have a feeling that The Gay Deceivers may have been (slightly) better on paper than in the finished product; as filmmaking, it's amateurish. It shows how starved gay people were at the time for any gay content, no matter how (intentionally or unintentionally) homophobic the context. It never could have gotten made if it couldn't attract a portion of the straight movie audience too, which meant gays had to be a target of the humor. (But, as you said, what do you expect from the period?) As you pointed out, the bright spot is Michael Greer, who was definitely one of the first to flourish as an out gay actor. He was memorable in Fortune and Men's Eyes, but I remember him primarily as a brilliant impressionist and club performer. He did a particularly spot-on Tallulah Bankhead and I still have his album, Tallulah in Heaven, in which Tallu is assigned to the switchboard in Heaven and risks the wrath of God for the liberties she takes.

Yes Greer is the funniest thing about the movie- he tried to get the producers to make the gay characters less cartoonish- but this is the comic tone of the movie.  The producers knew they needed a gay audience which is why Larry Casey is used as beef cake.  I thought the interesting the scene in which he goes to bed with the transvestite and is discovered by the army investigator- I wonder how he proved he was gay to that guy ( oh it just my fan fiction imagination).  The problem with the film is the two straight guys do not grow from the experience- you would think they would have become more tolerant after experiencing the gay life.   " I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larr" is terrible but the straight guy passing for gay is a great comic set up -and will be used again.

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7 hours ago, jaragon said:

Yes Greer is the funniest thing about the movie- he tried to get the producers to make the gay characters less cartoonish- but this is the comic tone of the movie.  The producers knew they needed a gay audience which is why Larry Casey is used as beef cake.  I thought the interesting the scene in which he goes to bed with the transvestite and is discovered by the army investigator- I wonder how he proved he was gay to that guy ( oh it just my fan fiction imagination).  The problem with the film is the two straight guys do not grow from the experience- you would think they would have become more tolerant after experiencing the gay life.   " I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larr" is terrible but the straight guy passing for gay is a great comic set up -and will be used again.

As you say, the producers knew they needed a gay audience, but I don't think it was until the post-Stonewall 1970's that the actual breadth of that audience became clear. In 1969, as far as they were concerned they had to please a general (ie: straight) audience first, which is why the two guys couldn't be pro-gay at the end. It had to be more: 'Whew! That was a narrow escape." In a way, I actually hope somebody does try it again, because if it's done right it could be something special. There was that episode of Friends when Joey and Chandler were minding a baby and women flocked to them because they looked like a cute gay couple with a kid, leading them to work it for all it was worth. It was hilarious and I can't imagine any gay person's feelings could have been hurt by something that clever and harmless.

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17 hours ago, DougieB said:

As you say, the producers knew they needed a gay audience, but I don't think it was until the post-Stonewall 1970's that the actual breadth of that audience became clear. In 1969, as far as they were concerned they had to please a general (ie: straight) audience first, which is why the two guys couldn't be pro-gay at the end. It had to be more: 'Whew! That was a narrow escape." In a way, I actually hope somebody does try it again, because if it's done right it could be something special. There was that episode of Friends when Joey and Chandler were minding a baby and women flocked to them because they looked like a cute gay couple with a kid, leading them to work it for all it was worth. It was hilarious and I can't imagine any gay person's feelings could have been hurt by something that clever and harmless.

You are right this film was aimed at the general audience who were going to laugh at the swishy gays which goes back to the sissy character of the 1930s.   It would have been nicer if at least one of the boys realized he was gay from the experience but of course that was not going to happen in 1969- not in an American movie anyway.  The films punch line is that gays are hiding in plain sight.   The disturbing angle now is that the boys homophobic reaction- specially in the scene in the gay bar is treated for laughs and normal behavior.  No All American straight guy would let another man make a pass at him with out punching back!   I would  have fillmed a coda in which the Danny and Eliot meet a few years later and Danny is now out and proud but that's my fan fiction imagination at work.

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6 hours ago, jaragon said:

You are right this film was aimed at the general audience who were going to laugh at the swishy gays which goes back to the sissy character of the 1930s.   It would have been nicer if at least one of the boys realized he was gay from the experience but of course that was not going to happen in 1969- not in an American movie anyway.  The films punch line is that gays are hiding in plain sight.   The disturbing angle now is that the boys homophobic reaction- specially in the scene in the gay bar is treated for laughs and normal behavior.  No All American straight guy would let another man make a pass at him with out punching back!   I would  have fillmed a coda in which the Danny and Eliot meet a few years later and Danny is now out and proud but that's my fan fiction imagination at work.

Even with a decent coda, you'd still have the whole grey area in the middle. Better to put your fan fiction imagination to work and start from scratch! You've done a great job pointing out the movie's deficiencies, so you'd know where to put in the work. But the movie business seems to be one of the toughest to crack on the planet, so I suppose neither of us should hold our breath waiting. 

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