6.6/10
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9 user 6 critic

The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender (1997)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History | November 1997 (USA)
A film scrapbook, images, phrases from our past, hiding their meanings behind veils. Let's lift those veils, one by one, to find how images, at one time seeming innocent, have revealed, after decades, to have homosexual overtones.

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Storyline

Filmmaker Mark Rappaport cleans out the proverbial closet of Hollywood and film history and unearths a veritable treasure of homo-erotic and gay subliminal gems, including everything from comedies to westerns, film-noir to musicals, and everything in between. Host/narrator Dan Butler leads us through a fun, but extensively documented, exploration of gay film history, from subliminal subtext to clearly visible. Included are many film clips of classic films and golden age stars. Written by trivwhiz

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November 1997 (USA)  »

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The DVD includes a nine minute short film about the professional life of actor John Garfield, also directed by Mark Rappaport. See more »

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Features The Court Jester (1955) See more »

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Far from complete and not especially satisfying...
15 February 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I can't imagine this film satisfying most people who watch it--whether gay or straight. While you'd think it would be a study of the history of gay actors in film OR gay characterizations, it really isn't very often--and it certainly is NOT very exhaustive. It's a shame, as I was fascinated to see how, for example, the Production Code changed how gayness was or wasn't shown or discussed in movies. Or, how difficult it was for gay actors over the decades--how they had to deeply closet themselves in order to make it in the overtly macho Hollywood environment. Or, how Hollywood mistreated or condoned homosexuals (both cases are true--and there are many examples of both extremes).

The film clearly is rarely about human rights but about voyeurism. Instead of being educational, most of the film is spend showing various clips of effeminate or less than macho characters. In fact, the viewer is inundated with TONS of clips--many of which seem irrelevant and many of which don't even imply homosexuality. All too often, they are trying to imply something that may not have been intended at all. It felt less educational or objective and more like a film for gay people might want to watch and laugh at as the actors behave or deliver lines that are not all that juicy--certainly NOT intended as any sort of social statement.

I'd say skip it--there MUST be something better out there on the subject.


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