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Screened Out: Monday, June 4th

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 14th, 2007, 5:33 pm

As one poster over at TCM said these are not "gay" films, but a series of gay images in film. Most of these films have been shown before, but this commentator is pointing out a certain aspect of the film that most viewers knew was there anyway (we always knew Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon was gay for instance).

I picked up on the the thugs in The Big Combo on my first viewing, but to call this a gay film instead of what it is (a Noir) would be a gross error. There are big distinctions between a film like this and The Childrens Hour or Reflections in a Golden Eye in which the main theme is homosexuality. That's like calling Are You Being Served? a gay sitcom when it's actually a sitcom with a gay character.

In any case most of these films have been good ones and I have enjoyed them being shown for whatever reason.

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » June 14th, 2007, 5:45 pm

What all of you are saying is exactly what the guest meant. Straight see one thing, Gay see another.

It's no different than some of the discussions we've had on entirely straight movies. I never thought anything of Martha and Ethan in the Searchers until it was pointed out, then the last time I saw the movie, it was like I was punched in the stomach. "How did I ever miss that?" In other words, because it was mentioned, I was watching for it.

Remember the scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Martin and Candy wake up and jump up embarrassed to the gills even though they didn't do anything? That is what this Screened Out month is doing. It's making us look at certain perfectly normal scenes/movies from a different perspective.

Honestly now, how many of you, since seeing Brokeback Mountain, have watched westerns and privately, in your head, snickered and thought "Hmmm, wonder if any of them DID IT?" Think about that the next time you watch Red River!!!!
Does that seem like blasphemy to you?

Anne
Anne


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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

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feaito

Re: Boyds will be Boyds

Postby feaito » June 14th, 2007, 9:47 pm

Moraldo Rubini wrote:
Before reading about the supposedly homoerotic undertones between the characters played by Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston at the beginning of the film, when Messalah and Judah Ben-Hur meet after years of not seeing each other, I hadn't ever "seen" anything of the sorts in the aforementioned scene, the multiple times I watched the film on TV showings or VHS. After I read about that fact on a certain cinema related book and I watched the film again, I "saw" them or I thought so.

The interesting aspect of the filming of this scene, Fernando, is that -- according to Stephen Boyd -- Boyd knew of the gay subtext and played it accordingly, but Charlton Heston did not. No one told Heston about this facet of the characters.


You are right Moraldo, that's exactly what I've read about the filming of the scene in a couple of books. But I also read somewhere else (I do not remember where unfortunately) that this was not true. So I don't know what to think.

Anyway I tend to see the homoerotic undertones when I've watched the film again, especially on Boyd's part. But then I've watched the scene along with other people and they haven't seen those undertones. So it's very subjective.

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knitwit45
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Postby knitwit45 » June 15th, 2007, 10:24 am

The interesting aspect of the filming of this scene, Fernando, is that -- according to Stephen Boyd -- Boyd knew of the gay subtext and played it accordingly, but Charlton Heston did not. No one told Heston about this facet of the characters.


Don't you think it was meant to be played that way? That Messala was in love with Ben-Hur, and Ben-Hur didn't realize it? It would explain the hatred shown Ben-Hur and his family, as that of a "rejected" lover.

I had never really thought about it, or seen it, as Anne has said, but it sure makes sense.

Nancy
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

feaito

Postby feaito » June 15th, 2007, 10:44 am

knitwit45 wrote:Don't you think it was meant to be played that way? That Messala was in love with Ben-Hur, and Ben-Hur didn't realize it? It would explain the hatred shown Ben-Hur and his family, as that of a "rejected" lover. I had never really thought about it, or seen it, as Anne has said, but it sure makes sense. Nancy


Good point Nancy.

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Moraldo Rubini
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Ben-Her!

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 15th, 2007, 5:33 pm

You are right Moraldo, that's exactly what I've read about the filming of the scene in a couple of books. But I also read somewhere else (I do not remember where unfortunately) that this was not true. So I don't know what to think.


I've seen the footage of both Gore Vidal admitting that this was how he wrote it, and Stephen Boyd admitting that this was how he played it. It was -- ironically -- straight from the horse's mouths... The interviews were included in [Oscar winning documentary filmmakers] Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's The Celluloid Closet.

feaito

Postby feaito » June 15th, 2007, 11:32 pm

Thanks for the info Moraldo. I have the book "The Celluloid Closet" but I have not seen the film. I´ll make a point of watching it.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 18th, 2007, 8:22 pm

Another great set of films coming up tonight. I am particularly glad to see The Uninvited.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one I have wanted to hear "gay perspective" commentary on. I have read in "The Celluloid Closet" That Sanders character was supposed to be gay, but I don't know that I personally buy that one. Another poster gave me a far more interesting insight to the film that sounded more plausible, but I would like to hear others thoughts on this one.

Voodoo Island is one I have not seen, but it's a Karloff film so I will be recording!

The Haunting is another great "ghost story" film with the wonderful Julie Harris.

We are also getting the awesome 7th Victim.

Comments anyone?

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » June 18th, 2007, 10:19 pm

Val Lewton's THE SEVENTH VICTIM, despite having been slightly mutilated in the editing room remains one of my personal favorites of his films. One of the most hauntingly melancholy films ever made, it resonates with the sad poetry that spilled forth from Lewton's own tormented soul. Jean Brooks, an actress I know nothing about, really, delivers a disturbing performance as a young woman driven to the depths of desperation by forces way beyond her control or comprehension. It's a shame we will never see the film the way it was intended. Censorship issues contributed to the slightly incoherent nature of it. Still, a masterpiece of sorts.

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Lzcutter
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Monday, June 18th

Postby Lzcutter » June 19th, 2007, 12:55 am

"Don't do that! They'll slaughter us for sure!" says Boris Karloff (one of the great movie voices of all time) in the wonderfully low budget Voodoo Island. Where else would you see zombies, people eating plants and even a water monster who attacks the "ice" queen"? What was her line to the virile young boat runner, "Don't waste your time, I won't melt" And a young, uncredited Adam West in the beginning of the film.

Coming after The Uninvited (So, in a way it was a Batman kind of evening with Alan Napier and Adam West) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (how tall was George Sanders??), Voodoo Island was one of those campy horror films that so typified the 1950s.

My dad and I were watching it wondering what Zombies and natives need with silver ware and surveying equipment. And we still don't know. And when they were all tied up over night and the next morning, Boris whips out a pocket knife and cuts himself loose my dad and I were like WTF? I guess the script wasn't the point of this film.

Favorite part, the heroine proclaiming that she is a changed woman and no longer a machine.

They don't write dialogue like they used to! :D
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » June 19th, 2007, 8:52 am

Dewey1960 wrote:Val Lewton's THE SEVENTH VICTIM, despite having been slightly mutilated in the editing room remains one of my personal favorites of his films. One of the most hauntingly melancholy films ever made, it resonates with the sad poetry that spilled forth from Lewton's own tormented soul. Jean Brooks, an actress I know nothing about, really, delivers a disturbing performance as a young woman driven to the depths of desperation by forces way beyond her control or comprehension. It's a shame we will never see the film the way it was intended. Censorship issues contributed to the slightly incoherent nature of it. Still, a masterpiece of sorts.


Dewey, I've been wondering about that since I saw the film many years ago on broadcast TV. It made very little sense, and the satanic nature of the cult was only hinted at, really. I've never been sure if it was the studio that censored it, or the TV broadcasters. Do you know which - or is it both? The running time of the movie seems pretty short at 71 minutes. I recorded it but haven't yet watched it. Does this mean I'm going to once again see the same bowdlerized version? Too bad. At least we've got Rosemary's Baby.

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Do do that voodoo that you do so well...

Postby benwhowell » June 19th, 2007, 12:13 pm

"Voodoo Island" was fun! I love Boris Karloff in anything, but I always keep expecting him to speak in Dr. Seuss rhyme. I was surprised to see Adam West. Elisha Cook Jr. was great as always-in another role earning him his nickname, "Hollywood's Lightest Heavy." His crazy moves on that bridge and that Theremin had me hypnotized...
Loved the score from Les Baxter too. Just saw "Pit And The Pendulum-"with another one of his cool scores.
Great locations and cinematography from William "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken" Margulies. Too bad it wasn't in color.
My partner is from Guam-another Pacific island. He enjoyed seeing (and identifying) all the flora. I guess Guam didn't have any man-eating plants.
Like Lynn, I enjoyed the dialogue the most. Almost as good as Ed Wood's and Wyott "Robot Monster" Ordung's. The screenplay was by Richard H. Landau. He also wrote "Wild Weed" (1949) with Lila Leeds-the young starlett arrested with Robert Mitchum for smoking reefer.

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » June 19th, 2007, 12:25 pm

Judith wrote: "I've been wondering about that since I saw the film many years ago on broadcast TV. It made very little sense, and the satanic nature of the cult was only hinted at, really. I've never been sure if it was the studio that censored it, or the TV broadcasters. Do you know which - or is it both? The running time of the movie seems pretty short at 71 minutes. I recorded it but haven't yet watched it. Does this mean I'm going to once again see the same bowdlerized version? Too bad. At least we've got Rosemary's Baby."

Judith, there's never really been any other version other than the bowdlerized one. Censors (from what I've read over the years) were displeased with all of the disturbing satanic (read: anti-religious) content as well as the notions of suicide (which remain) and forced Lewton and RKO to make editorial changes. Those changes rendered the film somewhat unintelligible. With respect to the running time of 71 minutes, all of the Lewton film clock in between 65 and 75 minutes. It's just one of those films that one must fill in their own blanks on. Of all the Lewton films, this one (and to a lesser extent I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE) comes the closest to being a dream-state film, a film that occupies its own peculiar place in our subconscious. And yes, thankfully, we do have ROSEMARY'S BABY (one of my all-time favorite films!)

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » June 20th, 2007, 9:57 am

I watched my recording of The Seventh Victim last night.

I believe that the version I saw on broadcast TV some years ago was even more truncated than what I saw last night, as shown on TCM. I liked this version much better: at least in terms of plot it made a little more sense, but oh, the tantalizing thought of what was left out!

As far as being part of "Screened Out," I didn't see much reference to homosexuality, since whatever might have been filmed as the cult's satanic rituals was cut, but there was one throwaway line from uttered by a distraught Isabell Jewell to the exotic Jean Brooks to the effect that "The only time I was ever happy was when I was with you." That was about it.

Stylistically, this was a typical shadowy Val Lewton production. I was struck particularly by the actor Erford Gage, who played a Greenwich Village poet with writer's block. He was rather unusual looking, sort of like Bing Crosby as played by Jay Mohr. I think he was supposed to be bohemian, and at one point he was wearing a suit that looked nothing like a 1943 suit - it had narrow lapels and rounded shoulders, and with his clipped sort of Roman soldier haircut, he was distinctly contemporary looking to me.

Among the well-heeled satan worshippers was a woman who had only one arm -- why? We never learn what happened to her other arm; was it a gift to the dark lord? I wish I knew.

The scenes of implied danger were very well done, especially one where the innocent heroine is visited in the bathroom while she is showering. The woman speaking to her is seen only in shadow through the shower curtain. Seems to be a preview of another famous shower scene. Also I have the feeling that Ira Levin, who wrote Rosemary's Baby, as well as Roman Polanski, who directed the film version, must have seen and been impressed by The Seventh Victim - the films are so similar in story and in mise-en-scene.

This movie has the personal distinction of being the only thing I've ever liked Kim Hunter in. She was good, and believable as the damsel in distress, and had not yet developed the stagey artificialness of her later acting style.

What's needed here is a competent remake.

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traceyk
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Postby traceyk » June 20th, 2007, 10:09 am

Is there something wrong with mt? I found "Rosemary's Baby" extremely funny when I watched it a few years back. Ruth Gordon and Patsy Kelly were a hoot. I loved the way the next door neighbors kept bursting in everytime the couple tried to get intimate--saving Rosemary for the Master, no doubt. (My sister and I still make jokes about those "interferring Satanists from next door.") And in the end, when they're talking about the baby, I keep wanting someone to say, "And look at his wittle hoofies...and his itsy bitsy horns..."


Tracey
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