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Proposal For LGBT Week in June


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Hey folks! It's been a few years since TCM did the "Screened Out" LGBT fest so I thought I'd come up with a list of films for a new one. I start with a night of firsts then build each night around a particular stereoype and finally end with a night that undoes them all.


"First Cut" - movies that left a mark.

1909 The Renunciation - Billy Quirk plays one of the earliest effeminates in film.

1916 The Isle of Love - Julian Eltinge shows his female impersonation skills.

1919 Anders als die Andern (aka, Different From The Others) - first film with homosexuality as theme.

1933 The Little Giant - Edward G. Robinson has the first pejorative use of **** in a movie.

1933 Arizona to Broadway - Gene Malin in drag in the only film he wasn't cut from.

1933 Soda Squirt - A cartoon that featured the most extreme pansy character.

1965 Winter Kept Us Warm - first Canadian gay film.



"Hi-Fie Nance" - sissies at full volume.

1916 His Wife's Mistakes - Roscoe Arbuckle has an encounter with an effeminate youth.

1925 Crimson Runner - Taylor Holmes plays nance butler.

1925 New Toys - Clifton Webb plays nance director.

1926 Midnight Lovers - John Roche plays nance interior decorator

1926 Irene - George K. Arthur as Madame Lucy

1929 A Crazy Nut - Franklin Pangborn plays nance husband.

1930 Loose Ends - Gerard Lyley as Cyril Gayling

1933 Wine, Women and Song - Bobby Watson as Lawrence.



"He Does His Best Work From Behind" - valets and ladysitters

1935 Bright Lights - Arthur Treacher gets ribbed as effeminate by Joe. E Brown.

1936 My Man Godfrey - Mischa Auer plays languid ladysitter Carlos

1961 A Taste of Honey - Pregnant Jo is attended by her best gayfriend Geoffrey.

1962 Five Finger Exercise - Rosalind Russell must choose between her ladysitter Walter and her mollycoddle son .

1963 The Servant - Butler and homeowner spiral into ****-centric circle.

1964 Night of the Iguana - Female chaperone "Dyke" has crush on her ward.



"I Love You, Please Leave Me!" - unrequited love

1940 Rebecca - Mrs. Danvers misses her Mrs.

1963 The Haunting - Eleanor think she's found a kindred spirit in Theo.

1964 The Leather Boys - Reggie unwittingly encourages Pete's man crush.

1967 Reflections in a Golden Eye -Major Penderton falls for Stables Sergeant.

1968 Rachel, Rachel - Joanne Woodward has a close encounter with her friend.

1968 The Sergeant -Master Sergeant Albert Callan chases his private.



"First Murder, Then Brunch" - decadent killers

1959 Compulsion - The story of the Leopold/Loeb murder trial that began the stereotype.

1948 Rope - Hitchcock classic inspired by Leopold and Loeb case.

1951 Strangers on a Train - Mother would not approve of switching .

1968 The Detective - Ever have a fight with a man in silk kimono?

1971 Diamonds are Forever - Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd

1974 Freebie and the Bean - Killer reveals his gay Kung Fu.



"Oh! What I Know About You!" - accusations and suspicions

1959 Serious Charge - Vicar Phillips gets threatened with blackmail.

1961 The Children's Hour - A rumour of lesbianism destroys two teachers' lives.

1962 A View from the Bridge - Eddie's jealousy makes him suspicious of the "punk" Rodolpho.

1963 Reach for Glory - The friendship of two boys has them dubbed the "cold cream squad."

1964 The Best Man - Presidential candidate is threatened with exposure of homosexual past.



"Identity Crisis" - adolescent anxiety

1951 Olivia aka Pit of Loneliness - Rarely seen boarding school film with Olivia falling for the headmistress Mlle. Julie.

1964 Les Amitiés Particulières (aka, This Special Friendship) - Romance in a Catholic boys school.

1970 Roll on Four O’clock - Student Peter faces discrimination from students and teachers.

1972 A Separate Peace - One boy's infatuation on another turns severe.

1976 Ode to Billy Joe - Surprise turn explains Billy Joe's fateful jump from the bridge.

1977 Equus - Sublimated homosexual teenage patient and doctor get treatment..



"Strangers With Candy" - the people mother warned you about.

1956 The Spanish Gardener - Jose bonds with a closeted diplomat's son.

1968 The Killing of Sister George - The girlish Childie is fought over by two mature women.

1974 Montreal Main - Photographer Frank becomes focused on younger Johnny.

1988 Clay Farmers - Ranch hands get accused of corrupting youth by lying around in nature.

1992 Voor een Verloren Soldaat (aka, For a Lost Soldier) - A young boy becomes infatuated with a Canadian soldier during WWII.

1992 The Boys of St. Vincent - Based a true story of boys in a Newfoundland orphanage.



"Conversion Therapy" - straightening out the gays.

1926 The Clinging Vine - A mannish women undergoes a transformation into a flower..

1946 Gilda - Rita Hayworth's hotness turns a man from his male protector.

1947 Desert Fury - A man crush goes sour when a dame hits the scene.

1957 Anders Als du Und Ich (aka, The Third Sex) - Parents hire a girl to turn their son normal.

1967 The Fox - Keir Dullea's wiles lure a women from her same sex pastoral ideal.

1978 A Different Story - A lavender marriage makes a lesbian and a gay man straight.



"Against the Grain" - films that defied types.

1948 Sitting Pretty - Mr. Belvedere saves the day and is the envy of all - no suicide required!

1954 Johnny Guitar - Masculine women, feminine men, which is the rooster, which is the hen?

1970 The Christine Jorgensen Story - A transsexual experience that doesn't become comic parody.

1971 Sunday Bloody Sunday - Finally, a sane bisexual!.

1972 That Certain Summer - A homosexual couple like any other couple.

1973 A Reflection of Fear - A transgender surprise.

1975 The Naked Civil Servant - Positive portrayal of Quentin Crisp.

1977 Outrageous! - A drag artist minus martini and Virginia Slim cigarette.

1983 Accounts - A gay farm kid who isn't bothered by it.



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Givenbak, thank you for that thoughtful, interesting, and well-annotated list. I would also include Maurice and Lilies ( Les Feluettes ) somewhere, as well as some love stories sans angst and discrimination. And of course Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.



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@Givenbak - Very good list. I've never even heard of some of these. I also like the group themes you came up with to group the films under. :)


@Bolesroor - Don't be a smartaleck with that "What other minority groups would you like to see with their own theme week?" comment, okay? It seems that anytime someone on a discussion board makes a similar suggestion regarding one group, some smartaleck responds with a similar-type question. X-(


@audreyforever - Re: "If I'm not mistaken there was a LGBT month a few years and back. Also, half these movies I never noticed some of the "relationships". Where did you get this information?" Yes, Givenbak already mentioned the fact there was a Screened Out (gay films) theme a few years ago....well, there's any number of books and films studies on the subject of gay cinema or gay subtexts in film that would have information regarding relationships and themes. There's also the simple recognition of such themes one picks up on, especially after taking a film study or film history course. Out of curiosity, which "relationships" are you questioning? :|

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Krieger, just a question about your comments toward Audrey... it's one thing when a film is explicit in it's portrayal of such things as LGBT, but who's to say which "sub-texted" relationships are intended by the filmmakers to imply such a meaning? It's all up to interpretation.


If I wanted to do a "Republican Week" or "Democrat Week" on TCM I could find movies that supposedly support the ideals of either party... and some that support both. What about a Socialism Week? Or a Communist Week? It's one thing to show a Cold War film but what happens when people start reading their own political or social comment into films? Who is right? Who is wrong? I have no problem with the concept of a LGBT week, but to advertise and promote films as being either pro *OR* anti-gay when we don't know for sure what the director/producers/writers' intentions were can be misleading at best.


What happens if someone decides to screen the great "Philadelphia" (1993) as being an *ANTI*-gay film? It becomes a slippery slope... is "Saving Private Ryan" a pro or anti-war film? Does "Gone With The Wind" promote or glorify slavery and the racism of the Old South? There are no correct answers... that's why personally I like to stick to watching movies for entertainment value, and leaving the historical/political/social interpretation to the individual. I don't believe that Hollywood films should be used as social curriculum. It's like screening "Forrest Gump" to teach Twentieth-Century history. It just becomes a very gray area to say the least.


And I wasn't trying to be a smart aleck... I was just trying to demonstrate the opening of Pandora's Box. Once you start screening/promoting movies for their "implied" political/social messages/portrayals you open the door for Every group to demand Equal Time. If you don't believe me just watch this thread... it's gonna be a doozy!

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Thanks for the suggestions. The list was not intended be comprehensive as I had twice the amount of themes to offer but edited it down to a manageable number. I just thought it might be fun to offer a few themes to choose from. Folks can choose to view on their own. As for love stories sans angst and discrimination, I think you'll find that in the last theme.

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There are a few you may want to add.


MADCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931)...From wiki: "It is noted as the first feature film to be produced with an openly pro-lesbian storyline and remains a cult film among lesbians." It was a film that Eleanor Roosevelt felt should be shown in the U.S.


STONEWALL...a 1995 historical comedy-drama film. From wiki: "Inspired by the memoir of the same title by openly gay historian Martin Duberman, Stonewall is a fictionalized account of the weeks leading up to the Stonewall riots."


MAKING LOVE (1982). This is one of my favorites. I love this movie. From wiki: "It tells the story of a married man coming to terms with his homosexuality and the love triangle that develops around him, his wife and another man. It stars Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin, and Michael Ontkean."


THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE..."a 2000 documentary film directed by Fenton Bailey and narrated by drag queen RuPaul focusing on the life of Tammy Faye Bakker."


SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE..."It's Christmas Eve 1971 in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and the regulars of the local gay bar are celebrating. Not much has changed since Stonewall and it's not all peace on earth."


LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!..."a 1997 film adaptation by Terrence McNally of his play of the same name, revolving around eight gay men who gather for three summer weekends."


ROCK HUDSON'S HOME MOVIES..."a 1992 documentary by Mark Rappaport. It shows clips from Rock Hudson's movies that could be interpreted as gay entendres."

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@Bolesroor -


Sheesh, here we go again whenever this subject pops up here. ;


Of course it's open to subjective interpretation...I never suggested it was otherwise. B-)


"Once you start screening/promoting movies for their "implied" political/social messages/portrayals you open the door for Every group to demand Equal Time. If you don't believe me just watch this thread... it's gonna be a doozy!"

Then you might as well not have ANY sort of themed showings at all. That avoids any further issues. ?:|

As far as that "it's gonna be a doozy" comment...that simply means that people are going to start their common bigoted replies and such whenever a gay-themed topic pops up here...like that other existing thread "Old gay guy", which almost immediately turned into some nasty homophobic comments.


"I have no problem with the concept of a LGBT week, but to advertise and promote films as being either pro *OR *anti-gay when we don't know for sure what the director/producers/writers' intentions were can be misleading at best."

Uh....I believe the idea here is to simply SHOW the movies...not to declare if they're either pro or anti. ;)

HOWEVER...if a film has been commonly viewed or analyzed over the years in writings devoted to the study of gay themes in movies, and seen the same way more than once....such as a "devoted manservant being overly-devoted to his master", for example, as being a gay theme or character, etc....then there is no reason NOT to mention that in the introduction to a film in a LGBT theme showing.


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TB, this is what I thought of each suggestion you made:


MADCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931)... They've shown it before (I think), and it's a great film but too commonly-known or even seen.


STONEWALL... I agree with this one. Wonderful fictionalized account of events surrounding the history-making riots. Should be shown.


MAKING LOVE (1982). I love it also, but it's not that great of a film and is too commonly-known.


THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE... Never saw it but could be an interesting choice.


SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE... Absolutely. It's NEVER shown on television, and after reading about it for decades I finally tracked this one down online and think it's a must-see. Terrifically underrated, and with some great performances, including tv-to-be-stars Gary Sandy (WKRP in Cincinnati) as a gay-for-pay character, and Rue McClanahan (Maude, The Golden Girls) as a barfly/"fruit fly". She's wonderful in this. This one NEEDS to be seen.


LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!... Yes! Good adaption of the stage hit, and with an all-star cast including Jason Alexander (Seinfeld). It's a great depiction of relationships.


ROCK HUDSON'S HOME MOVIES... Hmmm...Yes, this could be very interesting to show as an example of what you mentioned: How things in Rock's movies could be open to interpretation. This was, incidentally, made for video.

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Givenbak, I thoroughly enjoyed your list and appreciate the effort you put into it. Some of the early films, especially, are unknown to me, and I'd enjoy seeing them. The TCM programmers do read these threads, so perhaps some of them will show up in the future. TopBilled and krieger, thanks for the recommendation of *Some of My Best Friends Are*. . ., another I haven't seen. Perhaps it and *Love! Valour! Compassion!* or one of the other more recent films would make a good double feature for TCM Underground.


Do I see the Mischa Auer character in *My Man Godfrey* as being gay? Yep. Is anything explicitly stated? No, just as nothing is ever explicitly stated about the Rex O'Malley characters in *Camille* and *Midnight*, or various other actors in a slew of other roles. The Alice Brady/Mischa Auer relationship in *My Man Godfrey* is like a love affair without all the messy sex stuff, which wouldn't suit either one. Homosexuality was a forbidden topic, according to the Code, but writers, directors, and actors smuggled it back in as much as they could.


Usually from an early age, LGBT people ask the question, "Is this person gay?" about everyone they meet. If you can put wishful thinking aside, this can literally be a survival tool, and was even more so in the past. Straight people can be equally good at this; it's all a matter of asking the question and paying attention. If you ask the question, "Is this person gay?" about the characters in classic films, you may draw the same conclusions givenbak and some of the rest of us do. Another question we ask is, "Does the hero care more about his best buddy than about his girlfriend?"

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I was pleased to see *The Leather Boys* on the list -- It's been yonks since I've seen that! Great cast. Dudley Sutton, who plays one of the leads, was the original Mr. Sloane on stage in Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

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Thanks for the support Kingrat. The inspiration for this list was simply my wish to build upon Vito Russo and Richard Barrio's work. That is to say, to continue adding to the awareness of films that feature LGBT elements. I run a weekly classic film night so it is easy for me to review and note these things. In addition, I'm also in the middle of a multi-year historical research project which means reading a lot of old newpapers. As a result, I come across many references that use the language of the day to discuss such things. For example, I became of aware of my early choices by simply reading.


1909-07-17 Variety -p34

From the print advertisement for the movie, The Renunciation:

Joe, however, picks up a photograph of he and Sam as boyhood chums, and. being a dead shot, softens and feels he cannot kill his comrade even for the sake of the girl, so decides to renounce his claim to Kittie's attention; but Sam enters threateningly, and a bowie knife contest occurs, which would have resulted in a fatality had not Kittie entered and introduced her choice--the most effeminate, namby-pamby dude one has ever gazed upon. One look is enough, and the chums exclaim in disgust, "Well, I'll be -------," but they were ladies present.



1916-04-03 New York Times

From a movie review:

The handkerchief-in-sleeve young man who walks with one hand on his hip while he waves the other has reached the funny films. He has been a subject for mirth in musical comedy for several years, but he did not appear on the screen till yesterday, when he was seen in the comedy picture shown at the Knickerbocker [His Wife's Mistake]. The effeminate youth was polishing his nails as the elevator bore him and Roscoe Arbuckle aloft, and when Arbuckle saw his companion he removed his hat.


In this way, I best avoid "interpretating" old movies with a modern bias because I follow the explicit understanding of those days.



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Those newspaper excerpts are priceless !


Sounds like you may already be familiar with a book called "Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890 - 1940" by George Chauncey ?


If not, it may help you to decode even more of the arcane references to gay men in movies and newspapers which have long since fallen into disuse but which early 20th century gay men devised to identify themselves to prospective partners as unobtrusively as possible -- like wearing a red tie, discussing opera, standing in certain places in certain bars, using words like "lavender" ...


Hope you'll keep us posted.





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Valeska, thank you for the book recommendation. I must order the Chauncey book.


A film which, I believe, isn't mentioned by Russo or Barrios will be shown Friday night/Saturday morning on TCM: *Perfect Strangers* (1950). Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, and Thelma Ritter are part of a jury for a murder trial, The jury is sequestered for several days, during which time, naturally, Ginger and Dennis fall for each other. The one juror who holds out longest against the others is rather obviously a gay man, unsympathetically portrayed. Even the stuck-up dowager on the jury is ultimately seen as redeemable, but he is not.

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Yes, I am familiar with George Chauncey's work. In fact, my research arose out of the desire to correct and expand upon his efforts amongst others. My particular focus is finding the origins of cultural symbols for the homosexual -how it is that we come to recognize them in images, words and music. Sure, we know what a limp wrist means, but why? We hear a word like pansy and expect a gay man not a flower. Why do they come with a particular wardrobe and set accessories like a wristwatch or red tie? Getting some answers reveals how language and pictures act as artifacts of culture. For example, you can date many images of an effeminate man sporting a watch as pre-WWI because they were standardized for timing manoeuvres by the soldiers and hence lost the associated effeminacy. In this way, studying the **** signifier tells us about how practical utility can undo stereotypes in the larger culture -that's important to know. Similarly, you can clearly see how media messages attacking mannish women before WW1 disappear as female labourers were required for the war effort. Women were granted the vote shortly after.



Media like film not only have the ability to perpetuate stereotypes but also to make them. In fact, I cut a category my list specific to movies that themselves created iconic gay references. Many people still remember "Squeal like a piggy" from Deliverance as shorthand for male rape. A recent neologism like "having a Bareback Mountain moment" stands-in for a homosexual relationship between two non-effeminate men. As society evolves, word vacuums get created and filled by shared cultural events. These are the things that I look for and document.



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