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Behind the Candelabra (2013)

TV Movie  |  TV-MA  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  7 June 2013 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 29,945 users  
Reviews: 149 user | 252 critic

Based on the autobiographical novel, the tempestuous 6-year relationship between Liberace and his (much younger) lover, Scott Thorson, is recounted.



(screenplay), (book), 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 38 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Black
Assistant Director
Tom Roach ...
Stunt Actor
Shamus Cooley ...
Camera Assistant
John Smutny ...
Sound Mixer
Rose Carracappa
Joe Carracappa
George Liberace
Dora Liberace
Billy Leatherwood


Scott Thorson, a young bisexual man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Too much of a good thing is wonderful"


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 June 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Liberace  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In a May 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly magazine, Rob Lowe described the makeup regimen used to transform him into the heavily plastic-surgeried Dr. Jack Startz: "It's tape and pulled behind my head. It's literally what they used to do in the early days of cinema before there were facelifts for actresses. You know, Joan Crawford, her whole career was this. You tape, you pull around the back of the head, but you have to have a wig because it covers the elastic. We did that, and I'm also wearing a dental piece and then I'm doing a couple of things, a couple of tricks with my own face, the way I'm holding it. Then of course the makeup is literally like Earl Scheib autobody paint sprayed on my face....It was actually really painful, because being pulled that long and that hard for a 12-hour day - it gave me migraines. We shot during the summer. It was unbelievably hot. The wig, being pulled, it was definitely not the most comfortable experience physically for sure." See more »


In the shopping montage set in 1977 a California license plate with a 1AAA111 format is shown. California did not use this format until 1980. See more »


Scott Thorson: I can't believe you're so Catholic.
Liberace: Devout.
See more »


Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.89 (2013) See more »


Déjà Vu
Written by Adrienne Anderson and Isaac Hayes
Performed by Dionne Warwick
Courtesy of Arista Contemporary/RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Driven actors, glittery characters, and a slice of very weird Las Vegas life
19 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Well, there's the story of Liberace, which is astonishing in its own way. Then here is Michael Douglas being Liberace in a true bravado performance.

So first things first—see this. It's just a hoot, and a well done biopic. Throw in Matt Damon's first rate performance, and some other secondary believable parts, and you realize there is some serious discipline involved. Most of all it is Douglas who manages to not overplay the part of a man who overplayed his public life to an outlandish extreme.

If you don't know who Liberace is, you'll find out, but it helps to have a clue (and I have some memories of people liking him, and run across old records of his at junk shops all the time). He was a kind of piano force who decided not to be a serious concertizer but to simply entertain. He wanted to make people happy, and that pretty much sums up his life.

Liberace also seemed to lack some kind of long term empathy that would see the damage he might cause young men who got sucked into his influence—and bedroom. It really didn't quite matter, and in his superficial way you can see why. It was a trade off of one kind of oversized entertainer for a more compassionate and giving person—or something like that. It's hard to sum up here but in fact, the big point somewhere, is people of all stripes were playing immediate pleasures against deeper commitment.

There is ultimately something thin here as a movie, and it only filled in a bit by watching some Youtube filler on my own afterwards. You might do the same. Comparing fact and representation is pretty amazing.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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