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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(book), (story) | 3 more credits »
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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:
...
Narrator
...
Himself
Susie Bright ...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Herself
Jan Oxenberg ...
Herself
...
Himself
Quentin Crisp ...
Himself
Richard Dyer ...
Himself
Jay Presson Allen ...
Herself
Mrs. Gustav Ketterer ...
Herself
...
Himself
Will H. Hays ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself
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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:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celluloid Closet  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,507,800 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cher, Liza Minnelli, and Bette Midler were scheduled to be interviewed for this documentary, but all canceled at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. See more »

Quotes

Richard Dyer: Most expressions of homosexuality in most of movies are indirect. And what's interesting about that is of course that is what it was like to express homosexuality in life, that we could only express ourselves indirectly, just as people on the screen could only express themselves indirectly. And the sense in which the characters are in the closet, the movie is in the closet and we are in the closet.
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Connections

Features Wings (1927) See more »

Soundtracks

Flower Duet ( Sous le dôme épais) from Lakme
(uncredited)
Written by Léo Delibes, Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille
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User Reviews

 
Out of the closet and into the picture
17 September 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"The Celluloid Closet" is a documentary that dares to go where others haven't gone before. Hollywood, that dream factory, has always been a magnet for the artistic gays and lesbians that have had a lot to endure and have never been recognized to the valuable contributions they have made to the medium.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have compiled a comprehensible account of how homosexuals have been discriminated by the industry where they have been present since the early days of silent films. In fact, movies have always attracted homosexuals who, for the sake of being in the pictures, have gone to extremes in order to work in this form of entertainment.

We are given excellent background by a lot of people that explain the many intricacies these closeted individuals have endured while trying to have a career in the movies. Interviews with Arthur Laurents, Tony Curtis, Armistead Maupin, Susie Bright, Whoopie Goldberg, Jan Oxenburg, Jay Presson Allen, Gore Vidal and others, expand on the material we are watching. Lily Tomlin's narration is an asset.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman deserve credit for their frank attempt to illustrate Hollywood's hypocritical treatment to the people who, in a way, have added to the prestige and to the artistic quality of the movies.


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