silversolitaire: (Guh)
I was just in the process of attempting to convince [ profile] krss to watch Casino Royale by dispersing her fears about the torture scene and baiting her with the slashiness of it. I described the scene to her and then I did some screenies to drive my point home. Since I kinda enjoyed doing that I'm going to repost it here in my LJ to keep! (hope you don't mind, Krss)

description of the torture scene, spoilers for that of course, but no major plot points revealed )

screenies with (hopefully) witty comments )

zomg tease! )
silversolitaire: (Default)
Honoured Author,
Who art ingenius,
Legal be thy claim.
Thy characters,
Thy situations,
Are yours and assuredly not ours.
Lend us this day your creations,
And forgive us our perversities,
As we shape them to the whims of our own strange muses.
And lead us not into litigation,
As no money have we made here,
For thine is the copyright,
The talent and the legal right,
For ever and ever,
silversolitaire: (Default)

I will never cease to be amazed at my bluntness.

Since yesterday I am the proud owner of my own copy of the wonderful book Celluloid Closet - Homosexuality in the Movies and the video documentary based on it from 1995. I've watched it and I now feel as if someone had switched on the lights and I'm seeing clearly now at last. All too clearly even...

Too be honest, I am mad. Yes, I am. I'm mad at the fact that I had to grow up in a world where such obvious gay references in movies had to be kept mum about. I am angry that I'm now sitting here, aged 22, and staring at the TV screen, not believing that it had never even occurred to me before, that 'Cabaret' was indeed about a gay man. And it's not even hidden! If I had watched to movie, I would have noticed it. But I didn't.
And why? Because all I knew about it was what was written in my musical encyclopedias and in that summary on my CD. And while I loved the music, I never really found the story all too appealing. Some Nazi drama about an American (English?) writer in Berlin during WW II, hooking up with a flamboyant night club singer who gets pregnant from him and he finally sees that his quest for adventure had been silly after all. *yawns* How boring. BUT! Nobody ever told me that the stage version of this musical obviously had been butchered beyond recognition. It was only the movie with Liza Minelli in '72 that was true to the original book, 'The Berlin Stories' by Christopher Isherwood. Suddenly the writer Cliff Bradshaw becomes Brian Roberts, frail and boyish, and obviously more on the same side of his pitch.

But don't get me wrong. The movie wasn't that "innocent" either. In the end, it boils down to the message that Brian in fact was rather heterosexual and his "slip" with Sally's lover Maximilian had just been a mistake and he really ought to be with Sally. Sad. Isherwood said about this that he felt as if Brian's affection for Max had been used as some kind of kink only to emphasize the heterosexual value of his relationship with Sally. In the end he gets to prove his heterosexuality in order to get the girl. That's disappointing, too. But not as much as to abandon it at all, IMO.

In a way, I agree with Harvey Fierstein here. Better a negative representation than none at all. But I only partial agree. Hollywood and the movies have become a very powerful tool to form people's opinions and ideas. Whole generations of queers had to grow up with the notion that homosexuality really is queer, twisted, weird and sick, and that it inevitably will end up in tears, anguish and death. Thank God, I grew up in a time, when it was no longer demonized. But it was invisibilitized. Now, which is worse? I can't decide, really.

I wonder, if I had grown up with the notion: there are gays out there, this is how we see them. Would I have then developed a consciousness of it sooner? Then I would have had the chance to form my opinion and know for myself: they're here and it's not wrong, for crying out loud. Just as I saw depictions of hatred and racism which I loathed and condemned, I would have been able to see them, see us, as a group that actually does exist.

But I didn't. I don't think I had any notion of homosexuality until I was 12 or so. For a very short time, I thought it was a turn off. Then I realized that I liked girls myself. I suppressed it, of course, not knowing what I was dealing with. I got into a relationship with a man, stayed with him for some time, realized that I could not suppress my need for women and get free again. Free and happy. But I was all alone. I struggled out of this horrible time myself. If there had been more films that visualize this, it all would have been a lot easier, I'm sure.

Thing is, those films existed. They were all there, all the time. I just didn't see them. And why? Because people kept mum about it. You don't talk about such films. Sure, they're there and those who are interested in it and want to know more about it are free to do so. Fine. But please don't make us acknowledge this openly, okay?

Well, thanks a bunch! If I think of all those years I was mocked and bullied by other people because I saw a gay subtext that nobody else did. I was told, "You queers always want to make everybody else queer! This is disgusting! Don't pull us all into your sordid affairs, okay?" Thing is, those things were there! It wasn't my sick sad mind that made it all up, no, it was them who were too stupid to see it themselves. It's not said explictly, thus it's not there, okay? Any questions?

Actually, yes! Why do those people turn a blind eye on gay references in movies? Hints that very intentionally placed there as it had been stated by the directors, screenwriters, actors many, many times? Why do they so desperately cling to the fact that it's no explicit, thus nonexisting? Isn't that really stupid and intolerant?

You tell me...

Now, to close my speech *g*, let me point out a few movies I always have had "under suspicion", been laughed at for my assumptions, and now finally found the proof!

Ben Hur
Now, please, don't tell me you never noticed the special kind of friendship between Judah (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd). They grew up together, then parted and when reunited suddenly find each other on different sides. Judah is still a jew, now a distinguished member of society, but Messala has risen to fame in the Roman Empire. They quarrel over politics and become fierce enemies.

Messala, the villian without motivation. Supposedly. But no. See it this way. They were lovers when they were young. Messala returns, full of hope and ardour and still desperately in love with Judah. But he has to realize they no longer share a life. Both have changed, up to a point when it is impossible for them to get together again. And then Judah even rejects him. This hurts. That's how he grew to hate the one he could not have.

Makes perfectly sense. And I didn't make that all up. Gore Vidal, one of the screenwriters of Ben Hur, said that it was just intended that way. It was all laid out. But then they said "We'll never get Heston to do that!" So they only let Stephen Boyd in and he pulled it all off, and Heston played along, absolutely clueless. It's brilliant! Just look at the scene when Messala returns and they drink together and practice with their spears again (not what you think!). Handsome Messala, madly in love, eyes sparkling, touching Judah carefully, and longingly and Heston goes all "Well, old friend! haha!"
I elaborated my thoughts about that one before. It's a rotten shame that they have butchered the message of this movie for the stage version. Although, if I'm correctly informed, they changed that for the all new Broadway staging. Sure hope so!

As for the movie, it's brilliant. I just love the scene when Brian hisses, "Screw Maximilian!" and Sally replies, "I do!" . Brian stares at her and then he mumbles, "So do I..." That's an ingenious dialogue, IMO. And I love the scene when Brian, Sally and Maximilian kiss at the same time. That's so tender...
A Streetcar Names Desire
My ideas about that one can be read a couple of entries below. The gay "sub"text would be absolutely obvious, IF the movie industry hadn't butchered around that one as well. You must be really over-subtle to get it from the movie. Once again, the play by Tennessee Williams is so much clearer. There it leaves no doubt that Blanche found her young husband with another man, yelled at him "You make me sick!!!" and thus brought him to kill himself over the shame.

Same goes for any other Tennessee Williams screen adaptation. 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', classical! I think I've also talked about this one below. Brick had a love relationship with Skipper (I still don't know if that's really his name!) and he never really got over the loss. This would also explain his veritable loathing of his wife and the thought of performing his marital duties with her. In cut-scenes from the movie, we can see dialogues between Brick and Big Daddy where he accuses his son almost openly of "unnatural love".

Another very bizarre example of Williams plays for the big screen with gay themes is 'Suddenly Last Summer'. I have not seen this and I seriously doubt whether I want to. Apparently, Williams wrote this on the advice of his psychotherapist on order to come to terms with his own sexuality by "exposing the evils" of homosexuality. The result was the tale of a "degenerate poet" who first uses his demented mother and later his older cousin to lure young boys into his trap, but finds his horrible end in the frantic attack of raging urchins.

The movie later only consisted by perhaps 40% of Williams' original play, the rest was written by Gore Vidal. The catholic Legion of Decency (hum...) then approached the matter with a pair of scissors and butchered it to pieces. Surprise, surprise! Yet they decided that this film could be shown, since it illustrated the perversion and horrors of homosexuality in a mixture of obsession, madness and cannibalism. They decided, however, that the poet should never make an appearance throughout the film. The result was quite fascinating. The actor who played Sebastian Venable was cut out everywhere. All that was left was a glimpse here and there of his arm, his sleeve, his legs... he became a demon without a face. The story was told in shady flashbacks by his cousin, played by Elizabeth Taylor. That way this film became a truly disturbing horror vision.

A funny notion about this film: Katherine Hepburn played the poet's mother. She had no clue what the fuzz was all about until the director and Spencer Tracy spent one whole evening explaining to her the concept of homosexuality. She then plain refused to believe that people would actually engage in such disgusting actions and then demanded the film to be altered!
Rebel Without a Cause
That's almost classical. Young Plato, played by Sal Mineo is the obvious sissy. He has a photograph of a guy in his locker and follows Jim, played by James Dean, with ardent admiration. He probably was looking more for a father figure than a lover, but Jim returns his feelings so blatantly, that sparks fly. In a way, Jim's just as loving and caring towards Plato as he is towards his girl, played by Natalie Wood. But of course, in a time like this, none of them could act upon their desires, thus they were stuck in a constant balancing act between desire, suppression and anguish.

Of course, like so many queers in the movies, Plato finds his bloody end as well.
An additional note: That's something that really bothers me, too. Gays usually are depicted as mad, degenerate and murderous. And of course, they always die, be it by murder or suicide. No matter so many gays in the past had to feel bad about themselves. I thought this was really significant, that my beloved book included a whole Necrology listing many gays that died in the movies. Very, very sad...

I admit it! I too like to write about insanity, obsession and dark lusts, and most of my characters happen to be gay, but please, I never connect their sexual orientation with their actions! That's something we absolutely have to distinguish: you're not saying all gays are killing maniacs, just because you write about one. I'm thinking about Poppy Z. Brite's 'Exquisite Corpse'. Haven't read that one, but given that fact that she successfully wrote about sane gay characters before, I'm absolutely sure that she's not implying that those two lovers were cannibals because they were gay. Thank you. Now on with my list
Ooooh yes, my beloved Spartacus with this wonderful dialogue about oysters I mentioned some posts back. Once again, the scissors erased the gay subtext, which really is a pity in this case, because that explained Antoninus' actions. He was shocked at the though of being asked to engage in actions he was not ready to do. That's why he fled from his master to join Spartacus and the other rebel slaves. I really want the DVD with the complete version!
The Maltese Falcon
Okay, not a film with real gay issues, but remember that guy who comes to visit Sam Spade? He's queer! It's suggested by him using perfume, but also the way he touches his lips with his walking stick in a very sensual way. Once again, this is not a figment of my sick mind, but I have proof. In the original novel, this guy is identified as a homosexual by Spade's secretary.

Haha! Gotcha! But this is very useful actually. See? These little facts give us hints to how Hollywood used to gloss over homosexuality and gives us a powerful tool to unveil it again. Like our own little Queer Stone of Rosette!
Those are just examples where homosexuality was effectively disguised until almost nobody saw it anymore. What I found much more astounding though, were the films that openly dealt with gay topics! And I had no clue! I did, however, see some of them. I'll make a list of a couple of those and new ones I just discovered. Just to name a few:

The Children's Hour (1962) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McLaine, about two teachers having a sexual relationship with each other, being accused and tried for it and ending with Shirley's character hanging herself... Shirley's scrumptious in that one. *sighs*

Making Love (1982) about a gay husband coming out and getting into a relationship with another man. A Hollywood landmark actually, probably first real gay romance on the big screen. Unfortunately a bit too blow-dried to really make people go crazy over it.

Cruising (1980); rather disgusting and anti-gay, but still interesting. With Al Pacino, about a gay policemen who goes out killing other gays. The murder scenes are atrocious.

Mädchen in Uniform (1934); German b/w movie about a girl in love with her teacher.

The Hunger (1983) with Susan Sarandon and Cathérine Deneuve about chic lesbian vampires and sweet sex scenes. I want Cathérine...

Midnight Express (1978) about a man's experiences in a Turkish prison. Supposedly falsifying Billy Hayes' original book, but it's got a sweet shower kiss scene.

Young Man With a Horn (1950) with Lauren Bacall as a drop-dead gorgeous, tantalizing lesbian. I don't think I've closed my mouth for an hour or so after I've seen her hit the screen. Gods, she was SUCH a beauty. I was bewitched by her body. She was really thin actually and I felt so bad for admiring it, but still I did. So elflike...

The Boys in the Band (1970), the first Hollywood movie in which all principal characters were gay.

Rope (1948), a Hitchcock classic and one of the 7 lost movies (or so), about two male lovers who kill a former classmate and indulge themselves in inviting friends at their place with the corpse on the premises. A shockingly brilliant flick, IMO.

Ludwig (1972); one of my personal favorites. A screen adaptation of the life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was gay, as we all know. Helmut Berger pulls off a grand Ludwig, youthful and beautiful. The movie was directed by Visconti and he and Berger were lovers at that time. Of course, this movie was screened censored for many years until finally restored to its full homosexual splendor.

Staircase (1969), a musical about a gay couple, with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. Rather annoying, really, but a landmark nevertheless.

A Different Story (1978) with Perry King; disputed a lot since it's about a gay man and a lesbian, both unhappy, who falls in love and marry each other. It was accused of showing gays turning straight. I, however, think that this isn't the case. Just because you're gay, doesn't mean you have to avoid the other sex like hell. To me, this is the truest and purest expression of friendship and love, when you can be together without having sex. Admitted, I did not see the movie, so maybe they had sex, but this is just a general comment on my side! ^_^.

I have some more movies on my mind, but I can't remember the names for the hell of it. I was surprised though that one of the first things captured on film way back then in 1890-something were two men dancing! Interesting, don't you think? I now could start with the oldest written piece known to us, the Epic of Gilgamesh, around 4000 years old, describing a very intimate same sex bonding between the two male main characters, including the traditional elegy and all that, but I'll spare you that! ^_^

With that I shall close my lecture for today. I could go on about this forever, but I can't possibly do that. I've still got some stuff to write. But I just wanted to record this for the future. I'm sure I'll write more about this some other time.
silversolitaire: (Default)

I just thought about "The Road to El Dorado" a bit. I was wondering... WHY?

Why did they have to put in the female to screw up the beautiful romance between Miguel and Tulio?

I was always wondering this. It's absolutely obvious that Miguel and Tulio are lovers. They are so much like a couple in every aspect. How they treat each other, are familiar with each other, comfortable around each other. Just think of the many times and ways they touch each other all the time. When Tulio is lifting Miguel and he has his face half buried at the other guy's ass, he doesn't look the slightest uncomfortable with it, doesn't he? And of course, the conversation in the boat when they think they're dying. "... and you made my life rich." Would you say this to your friend? No way! There are these many momentoes between them, when Miguel gets all excited about something and Tulio rolls his eyes, then smiles lovingly and lets him have his way. And think of Miguel's look of heartbreak at Tulio's "Forget about Miguel". And then, all of the songs that are being sung, in the background, giving voice to the character's emotions... the list is endless.

Trying to discuss which of the songs was the one giving away the most that Miguel and Tulio are lovers was rather pointless, because no particular song could be pinpointed. They are all eligible.

Let me point out a few examples:

Without Question

Miguel is "thinking" it while looking around in the village, but in fact he's thinking about Tulio. It becomes clear when he looks up to where he expects Tulio to be standing and just that moment he thinks "I love you, I love you without question, I love you". Why would he think this about a village he's just arrived in anyway? Of course he means Tulio.

"I'd believe in anything were it not for you
Showing me by just existing only this is true
I love you, I love you without question, I love you

The more I want the more I steal
The more I hold the less is real
All worldly things I follow blind
In hope not faith was paid in kind
The line is drawn, the change is made
I come to you, I'm not afraid."

I especially like the last line. I think that's so angsty... It shows that Miguel is afraid to completely give in to his feelings for Tulio. That is quite plausible, taking into account that Tulio is someone who rather suppresses his feelings. Miguel's afraid of rejection.

Next song:
Trust me

These lyrics almost speak for themselves. There are many "gay" signals in there. Most of all "pretty boys" and the like. Think of the Japanese artform of bishounen which goes almost hand in hand with homosexuality. And then there's always room for interpretation of these words. It's about angst again, fear of admitting your feelings, about time you've wasted looking for other love when true love was always waiting near.

Looking back it makes me shiver
Don't be scared to kick the past
Selling lovers down the river
Nothing built for speed will last overnight

All those years of desolation
Pretty boys and damage done
Not the way to find salvation
Looking after number one

Trust me
Try rolling with the flow
Trust me
I've been there don't you know
I'm giving you a chance, so take it
I got all you want, you'll make it
Standing there in front of me, you're naked
You can't hide a thing, you've got no choice
Trust me

To me, this is clearly sexual. "standing there in front of me, you're naked, you can't hide a thing"... but it's also emotional. Showing everything to this one person.

Then next...
My Heart Dances

Obviously a song about breaking up, about fighting with the one you care for. Meaning, Miguel and Tulio's fight about Chel and leaving El Dorado. There is no way of pretending the girl could be meant in any way. I point out "enchanted boy".

I see you in the distance and I see us as we are
So nearly so contented but a careless word too far
I see you in confusion for a once enchanted boy
My heart dances, oh oh, but not for joy

I longed to love you better but I swear I don't know how
You could have been my future but I had to have it now
The things we love completely we are fated to destroy
My heart dances, oh oh, but not for joy

All those lines "longed to love you better", "you could have been my future" point towards a couple that has been together for a long time already. This rules out Chel completely again. I really love the sadness of this song. "My heart dances... but not for joy." *sobs*

Next on my list...
Friends Never Say Goodbye

The song in the background when they're fighting. Tells so much more than just friendship, but love... and betrayal. And hurt.

What is done has been done for the best
Though the mist in my eyes might suggest
Just a little confusion about what I'll lose
But if I started over I know I would choose
The same joy the same sadness each step of the way
That fought me and tought me that friends never say
Never say goodbye

Also this line: "here isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road" tells me a lot more than what meets the eye. This could also have a sexual connotation once again.

And last, but not least...
Someday out of the Blue

Probably the best known song of the whole lot. Not really related to the film's contents, but still in full correspondence with its spirit. It could illustrate the possible outcome of Miguel and Tulio, if they hadn't gotten their acts together again in the end. I like the sadness of this song, but also the hope.

Some day out of the blue
In a crowded street or a deserted square
I'll turn and I'll see you
As if our love were new
Some day we can start again, some day soon

In a way this also reminds me of Brian and Curt from Velvet Goldmine, but that's a whole different story! ^_^.

Now I think I've made a clear point that Miguel and Tulio are a couple. Now, what to do with Chel? Why did Tulio have to fool around with this chick? We had enough evidence of a loving relationship between those two guys with mutual attraction and affection (whether acted upon it or not remains a mystery). But, and that's the main point I'm making, it's not that obvious, if you're an innocent unsuspecting viewer. Thus, no need of "de-gaying" the film. But still they did. Why else should they have inserted this Chel-chick? Their so-called romance is ridiculous and just disturbs the flow of the film. It almost appeared to me as if they, panic-stricken, put her in (as an object of romance) to avoid the voices of indignation that would surely have attacked them otherwise.

So, what did they do? Did they try to keep the gayness away with her and indeed intended Miguel and Tulio to be gay, but chickened out? If this is true... it makes me very sad. Because... what can I say? It would have been beautiful. So free of issues and anything. They're just there. Nobody would have bothered, nobody would have known. It would have been "Don't ask, don't tell". So why, why, why???

The answer is simple: Chel was a decoy. For the average bigot mind that would have cried "EVIL FAGS!!!!" otherwise. Chel gives a good excuse for them to ignore these bits. It is my belief that the characters of Tulio was sketched out to be bisexual. A friend pointed out that Tulio's attraction to Chel is nothing but physical. And it's true. He resists her long enough and it never really goes deep. Her mistake was to misread and/or ignore the signs of Tulio being taken already.

Chel is a cool character. She is funny, fearless and cynical. I don't want to hate or condemn her. If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't have had any cool women (or any women at all, for that matter) in the movie. In the end, I thought, she had stepped back from Tulio. She realized that she would never be able to get between Miguel and Tulio, so she resigned and got used to the idea of the three of them staying together. She did however try to get her hands on Tulio alone first! Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Tulio and Miguel's problem is that they've gotten too used to each other to really appreciate each other's presence. They never really thought they could not have each other anymore. Friends never say good bye. Especially Tulio. He never thinks about what he has in Miguel. He usually gets annoyed at him or thinks he's silly, but secretly he is happy that he's there and smiles about his antics. He loves Miguel, but he would never admit it. And Miguel? He's too timid to make a move. Maybe they even shared physical love already, but to them in was never clear how fragile their relationship could be, because they just took it for granted. Then Chel bursts into their little world and Tulio gets distracted for a moment. But this was necessary, because then they both realize how much they love each other.

Tulio doesn't want to leave Miguel behind, but Miguel can't stay with them without having things set straight. He is too proud and still too timid to make a move. But then when he sees his love's life in danger, he doesn't think twice and gives up everything he wanted, just to save him. This makes Tulio realize, too, what he had, has and needs: Miguel. They leave together again and Chel too sees that she can only be their friend...

I really love "Road to El Dorado"...


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