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The Celluloid Closet (1995)

A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

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Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Narrator
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Jan Oxenberg ...
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Quentin Crisp ...
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Richard Dyer ...
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Mrs. Gustav Ketterer ...
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Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A comprehensive documentary of the history of gays and lesbians in cinema, from negative to positive reflections of gay characters and the troubles of actors and actresses. Written by R. John Berggren <jberg@nina.pagesz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some graphic footage of sexuality and violence, and for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celluloid Closet  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,507,800 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers originally planned a sequence discussing how gay historical figures were portrayed as heterosexual in films. They aborted the sequence when Richard Burton's estate denied the rights to Alexander the Great (1956), MGM denied use of Hans Christian Andersen (1952) (fearing that the filmmakers were trying to "out" Danny Kaye) and Charlton Heston declined use of The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) (claiming that Michelangelo was heterosexual). See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Hollywood, that great maker of myths, taught straight people what to think about gays and gay people what to think about themselves.
See more »

Connections

Features Mo' Money (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

The Song from Advise and Consent
Music by Jerry Fielding
Words by Ned Washington
Sung by Frank Sinatra on jukebox
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User Reviews

 
Fascinating and important documentary
31 October 2000 | by (Forest Hills, New York, USA) – See all my reviews

The Celluloid Closet is a documentary that examines Hollywood and homosexuality, and how gays and lesbians have been portrayed in films.. It actually all began in 1895, with Thomas Edison's film of two men dancing together!

Beginning in the 1930's, filmmakers, because of the strict production code in place at the time, constantly inserted gay and lesbian themes and storylines, and the earliest gay male character was always the `sissy', and lesbians could only be used if they were presented as dangerous predators. In viewing the film clips, some scenes from certain films are more overt than others, especially in non-gay or lesbian themed films. For example, Jane Russell, in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, sings in a room of half-naked man, none of whom pay any attention to her. A less overt example features a scene from Red River in which Montgomery Clift and another actor discuss their pistols after removing them from their holsters. Numerous writers, directors, and actors, including Gore Vidal, Susie Bright, John Schlesinger, Tom Hanks, and Susan Sarandon, all comment on their roles in this aspect of film history. This is an important and always interesting documentary that should be seen by everyone, no matter their sexual orientation.

Vote: 10


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