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Teen Movie Critic

The Celluloid Closet

by

Roger Davidson

Celluloid Closet, The
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Here is an uncompromising look at the treatment of homosexuals in films and the Hollywood movie system. The documentary shows many different film clips from movies with either homosexual themes or undertones. The filmakers interviewed at least two dozen famed movie actors, writers, directors and producers, a good portion of them gay. The people talk about how certain films came about and the feelings toward the film system's biased treatment of gay characters. Various film clips include an early Thomas Edison experimental film, showing two guys dancing cheek to cheek. Besides depicting the evolution of the sissy, a character that was used mostly as comic relief, the film also presents an image of lesbian characters during the 40's and 50's cast as cold-blooded killers. Finally, it comes into the 70's and 80's, where Hollywood is attempting to come to terms with the subject of homosexuality.

The interviews are both insightful and funny, as they interview Gore Vidal on the undertones of Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston's characters in Ben-Hur. Tony Curtis describes his character development in Some Like it Hot and how the famed deleted bath scene in Spartacus came about. The most interesting interview came from Susan Sarandon on how she added her own little touches to the lesbian scene in The Hunger. This is an extremely pessimistic and ugly look at the homophobia surrounding the movie industry through the past 100 years, so don't look for anything really nice in this picture. The interviews are intelligent and come off unbiased for the most part and the quick editing with the old movie clips is astounding. This is probably one of the best documentaries that has come out in a long time!

My Rating = Four Stars


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