Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

10 (or more) gay classics

Its Pride weekend here in London too, the parade will be getting underway shortly and then a fun afternoon in Trafalgar Square and other venues, as the town will be heaving over the weekend. I enjoyed all those ones in the various parks over the years .... particularly Clapham Common in 1997 ... and those Brighton ones too with all the gang. I wouldn't though like being stuck in a crowded Trafalgar Square for the afternoon - much nicer to be sitting on grass and not hemmed in ...

My Facebook pal Martin has complied a list of 10 essential gay films - which caused a lot of interest. So, I had to compile my own, in date order, its a little more than 10 though ... (reviews of most of these can be found at the 'gay interest'  label). 

VICTIM, 1961 – Dearden
SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, 1971 - Schlesinger
FOX AND HIS FRIENDS, 1975 – Fassbinder
DONA HERLINDA AND HER SON, 1985 – Hermosillo
PRICK UP YOUR EARS, 1987 – Frears
MAURICE, 1987 - Ivory
LONGTIME COMPANION,  1989  - Rene
LES ROSEAU SAUVAGES (WILD REEDS). 1994  – Techine
BAD EDUCATION, 2004  - Almodovar
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, 2005 – Lee
THE LINE OF BEAUTY, 2006 – Dibb.
CLOUDBURST, 2011 - Fitzgerald
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR,  2013 - Kechiche
THE NORMAL HEART, 2014 – Murphy

Then, bubbling under, there's 
PRIDE, 2014 – Warchus / LOVE IS STRANGE, 2014 – Sachs / ANGELS IN AMERICA, 2003 – Nichols. / AN EARLY FROST / OUR SONS / PARTING GLANCES / WEEKEND / PRIEST / BENT / GODS AND MONSTERS / PRESQUE RIEN / and from the days of Seventies hedonism: TAXI ZUM KLO  and should one include BOYS IN THE BAND? (I never wanted to see CRUISING).

And I might have to investigate: 
PLAN B – from Argentina. Other world titles include UNDERTOW from Peru and FREEFALL from Germany. Gay cinema does not have to be all dramatics: the Italian comedy LOOSE CANNONS is a whole lot of fun while dealing with coming out issues. One I did not like was STRANGER BY THE LAKE ... nor, on reflection, Tom Ford's glossy high fashion version of Isherwood's rather downbeat A SINGLE MAN, totally changing the plotline too ... as per my review. 

And great gay performances: Apart from Dirk Bogarde's gay-themed movies, praise to Peter Finch for his magnificent Oscar in THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE in 1960, and SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY in 1971, Tom Hanks in PHILADELPHIA, Michael Douglas as Liberace, Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig for their tortured double act in the downer that is LOVE IS THE DEVIL ... then there's actors like John Hurt, Jude Law, Michael York, Tom Hollander, Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Rupert Graves who have played gay several times.

That interesting remake of A ROOM WITH A VIEW for TV in 2007 certainly brought the Reverend Beebe (Mark Williams) out of the closet, whether chatting up the roughies or with a decided gleam in his eye as he joins the boys for that skinny dip ...

My pet peeve though is when gay characters are needlessly killed off, for a plot contrivance or to wind thing up (LOVE IS STRANGE, CLOUDBURST, maybe BROKEBACK ...), I was particularly incensed by that first MARIGOLD HOTEL (as per my review, Maggie Smith label), when Tom Wilkinson's gay character drops dead after his story arc is completed, as though they didn't know what to do with him - couldn't he have continued living in India like the straight people? Looking at MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING again the other day it was bliss to see Rupert and Julia in that perfect ending.
Also, not 'gay' as such, but certainly 'gay interest' are titles like Visconti's trio DEATH IN VENICE, THE DAMNED, LUDWIG; those French films by Ozon and Techine; or Almodovar or Fassbinder, or Bill Condon and Todd Haynes; plus that 1976 Richard Lester comedy THE RITZ (I really must have another look at that soon); Hitch's ROPE; PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT and Mingehlla's THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, and the 1970 black comedy SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. CABARET too I suppose ...
There's a lot more  here: 

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