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David Patrick Kelly,
Eric Farr speaks to the camera as if speaking Rock Hudson's words from a posthumous diary. Film clips from more than 30 Hudson films illustrate ways in which his sexual orientation played out on screen. First we see tenuous and unresolved relationships with women, then clips of Rock with men, cruising and circling. Next comes pedagogical Eros: Hudson with older men. We see Rock with his sidekicks, often Tony Randall. We look in depth at comedies of sexual embarrassment and innuendo: films in which Hudson sometimes plays two characters, "macho Rock and homo Rock." He's masculine yet vulnerable, a hunk who needs taking care of. Last come cinematic reflections on death. Written by
"Rock Hudson's Home Movies" is a compilation of film clips by Mark Rappaport that shows many of the gay references and innuendos in Hudson's films. Rappaport is the voice of Rock. It's a snide narration; he doesn't sound like Hudson, and he beats us over the head with the obvious.
The film clips are very enjoyable. In fact, however, you can go through the career of just about any actor and pull these sorts of clips. It's true that because people like Douglas Sirk and Ross Hunter knew about Hudson's sexuality, however, there are probably more in-jokes in Hudson's films.
An actor's screen image and an actor's true personality and sexual proclivities are completely different things. Hudson projected the heroic looks and physique of a movie star, and what he got were movie star romantic leading man roles. If he'd looked like Wally Cox, the film clips would be quite different. Straight actors have played gay roles, and gay or bisexual actors have played straight roles for years. It's called acting. Hudson lived as he wanted in his private life, and by all accounts, enjoyed himself. The sad thing is that he had to go through a sham marriage and put forward something different than he was for the fan magazines. That was the price of fame when he was a star. He paid it.
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