Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema

Steven Paul Davies

Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema

Over the decades, gay cinema has reflected the community's journey from persecution to emancipation to acceptance. Politicised dramas like Victim in the 60s, The Naked Civil Servant in the 70s, and the AIDS cinema of the 80s have given way in recent years to films which celebrate a vast array of gay life-styles. Gay films have undergone a major shift, from the fringe to the mainstream and 2005's Academy Awards were dubbed ''the Gay Oscars'' with gongs going to Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica. Producers began clamouring to back gay-themed movies and the most high profile of these is Gus Van Sant s forthcoming MILK, starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first prominent American political figure to be elected to office on an openly gay ticket back in the 70s. So loved was he that his brutal and homophobic assassination by ex-policeman Daniel White sparked the biggest riots in gay history. The book also includes information on gay filmmakers and actors and their influence within the industry. Interspersed throughout the book are some of the most iconic scenes from gay cinema and the most memorable dialogue from key films. With a foreword from Simon Callow. 3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Music, Stage & Screen, Sex & Sexuality
Format Paperback
Pages 208
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication October 2008
ISBN 978-1842432914
Publisher Kamera
 

Over the decades, gay cinema has reflected the community's journey from persecution to emancipation to acceptance. Politicised dramas like Victim in the 60s, The Naked Civil Servant in the 70s, and the AIDS cinema of the 80s have given way in recent years to films which celebrate a vast array of gay life-styles. Gay films have undergone a major shift, from the fringe to the mainstream and 2005's Academy Awards were dubbed ''the Gay Oscars'' with gongs going to Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica. Producers began clamouring to back gay-themed movies and the most high profile of these is Gus Van Sant s forthcoming MILK, starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first prominent American political figure to be elected to office on an openly gay ticket back in the 70s. So loved was he that his brutal and homophobic assassination by ex-policeman Daniel White sparked the biggest riots in gay history. The book also includes information on gay filmmakers and actors and their influence within the industry. Interspersed throughout the book are some of the most iconic scenes from gay cinema and the most memorable dialogue from key films. With a foreword from Simon Callow.

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Paul Burston

Strictly speaking, this is not "A History of Gay Cinema" but "A History of Cinema Enjoyed by Gays". There are no gay characters in Mildred Pierce, for instance, and while Bette Davis may have earned her status as a gay icon, to compare her character in All About Eve to "every gay man who struggled to come out or get laid with a not-so-safe stranger" really is stretching things a bit. Davies is better when he's drawing out the gay subtext of films such as Rebel Without a Cause, or tackling difficult films like William Friedkin's gay serial killer thriller Cruising, which has a reputation as one of the most homophobic films ever made – an opinion I have disagreed with on several occasions, and am pleased to see that Davies disagrees with too. As he points out, "gay life isn't always pretty rainbows, Pride marches and Will & Grace reruns." It certainly wasn't in 1980, which was the year Cruising came out.

16/11/2008

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