Log in

No account? Create an account
my big book of little catastrophes
I ate WHAT?
the gay classics 
13th-Jan-2005 11:48 am
There have been a slew of gay movies in the last few decades, from the execrable Making Love in 1981 to recent marvels like Latter Days, romantic fluff like Trick and modern classics like Priscilla. But before we got movies that had openly gay characters and themes, there were the classics. Mostly they were movies about strong or abused women. I think that's because gay men could identify with those situations more than with the typical gangster or western movie.

But I'm a pretty bad fag when it comes to seeing the classics. I didn't see Baby Jane until I was in my 20s, and I still haven't seen All About Eve all the way through yet. So, I think it's time to round out my cultural education.

What are the gay classics that should be considered required viewing, on penalty of having to forfeit your gay card?

I'll start. I'd say the cutoff to qualify would be pre-Stonewall era, so before 1969. Feel free to add titles to the list, or to shoot them down if you don't agree.

The Women
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
All About Eve
Some Like It Hot
Red River
The Sound of Music
The Wizard of Oz
13th-Jan-2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
It would be most interesting to me to know what the gay undertones are for each movie... as in, why is this movie valuable to gay-dom? For example, I know that we gays love the wizard of oz, but why? What is our fascination with Dorothy? I just don't get it...
13th-Jan-2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
Genetics? I don't know.

It's pretty much the camp value I'm guessing, which is the gay thing I suppose.

I'm not sure what sort of crowd was in attendance for the "Judy Garland Christmas" at the Castro theatre. There was a short film made a while back called "Friend of Dorothy" which is always sort of a code.

I felt the connection with Marilyn Monroe was due to the drag implications.
13th-Jan-2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
Dorothy feels trapped in a drab, black & white rural world and suddenly finds herself transported to this magical, technicolor place filled with strange people and new experiences. As a rural-born homo who has made the migration to an urban gay-friendly metropolis, I can definitely see the gay appeal of a movie like The Wizard of Oz, even moreso in a time when small-town and rural existence was much more isolated and isolating than it is today.

Plus there's all the singing and costumes. ;-)
13th-Jan-2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
I don't see Casablanca as a "gay" classic. Just as a classic and a great movie. Maybe due to Sydney Greenstreet, who's relationship with Peter Lorre is always been questionable.

Red River might be only because it is one of the best films starring Montgomery Clift.

Id think more a movie like Giant which has Marilyn, James Dean and Sal Mineo in it.

There's also the original Auntie Mame with Rosiland Russell

Mildred Pierce w/ Joan Crawford. ( Might want to check out Mommie Dearest too)

Id also think that Sunset Boulevard is a campy classic too, not really gay.

There is a movie released in 1979 called "The Ritz", it features Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, Rita Moreno and Treat Williams. Great comedy.

If you consider 1980 in your time frame, then its "Can't Stop the Music"
If you have any other questions, let me know.

Some of these aren't on DVD. If you need assistance in seeing those or other movies on DVD, let me know. I have an extensive VHS collection that I'm dubbing onto DVD.
13th-Jan-2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
Any/all of the movies adapted from Tennessee Williams plays, Steetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, etc.

Actually, if you haven't seen it already, Vito Russo's great documentary The Celluloid Closet is a must-see to better educate yourself about gay themes and presence in pre-Stonewall Hollywood.
13th-Jan-2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, also The Children's Hour (1961) based on the play by Lillian Hellman (with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McClain!).
13th-Jan-2005 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I was about to add that to the list. It's just coming out onto DVD
13th-Jan-2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
Vito was a friend (not close, but we got along), and I got to see his live lecture on the Celuloid Closet when he was a guest lecturer at UC Santa Cruz. I've never been able to bring myself to see the movie version, as I think I would be really sad for me to have to sit through it now that he's gone. I should go get his book though, it's such an amazing piece of work.
13th-Jan-2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'm not much of a gay cinema (or any cinema, for that matter) expert but don't forget Tea and Sympathy -- one of the bigger "gay people should kill themselves because it's the only answer" movies.

Oh, and Auntie Mame. Because, well, yeah.

Celluloid Closet is a good watch if you want to get some other ideas.
14th-Jan-2005 01:47 am (UTC)
Anything with Joan Crawford or May West, I'd say, but definitely "Mildred Pierce," because the camp and melodrama are just wow. (Sidenote: The last time I saw Mildred Pierce was at the Castro Theater and the entire audience was laughing hysterically at some of the more melodramatic moments, when the guy in front of me got up, huffed his chest, exclaimed "it's a tragic film!" and strutted out of the theatre.)
14th-Jan-2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
"Victim" (1961) Dirk Bogarde starring in the story of homosexual blackmail. This (especially for its time) controversial film is credited for gaining public support for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
This page was loaded Jan 16th 2019, 3:42 am GMT.