sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote 2017-09-01 05:32 pm (UTC)

What did you think of The Celluloid Closet now that you've seen it?

I really enjoyed it! I had seen or at least read about a number of its movies, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, but not all of them and some of the surprises were glorious—the gun-handling scene between Montgomery Clift and John Ireland in Red River (1948) convinced me that I need to watch that thing stat. ("Ever had a good Swiss watch?") There are places I think the films or the times could be more nuanced than the documentary suggests; there are movies or people I would have highlighted which it doesn't mention; it was the first comprehensive look of its kind, it had an urgent political point to make and an hour and a half to assemble it out of a festival's worth of material, I'm not going to dock it points for leaving out Billy Haines. Nothing in its general argument was surprising to me. Many of the later details, sheerly from not having seen the movies, were new to me. (It became apparent as the narrative moved into the '80's that spending my childhood under a zeitgeist rock actually shielded me from some of the overwhelming homophobia of American pop culture. I knew it existed: I saw it, read it, had it applied to me. But the punch line montage mentioned to [personal profile] lauradi7dw below was composed entirely of obviously popular movies I hadn't seen and all of them, in the immortal words of Achewood, saying "faggot" like old telegrams used to say "stop.") The interview clips of Tony Curtis, Susan Sarandon, Barry Sandler, Quentin Crisp, Gore Vidal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tom Hanks were particularly lovely to me, but everyone involved had something valuable to say and they all said it well. "Certainly you wouldn't have to get drunk to bed Catherine Deneuve—I don't care what your sexual history to that point had been!"

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