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Rock Hudson (1990)

Biography of actor Rock Hudson focuses on his struggle with his homosexuality. Based on the book by his ex-wife, Phyllis Gates, and on the court records from the civil suit brought by his ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Rock Hudson
... Phyllis Gates
... Marc Christian
... Henry Willson
... Tim Murphy
... Mark Miller
... Kay
Joycelyn O'Brien ... Sally
... John Frankenheimer
... French Doctor
Lawrence Dobkin ... Raoul Walsh (as Larry Dobkin)
... Madge
... Reporter
John Shepard ... Captain 'Fighter Squadron'
... Carl
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Storyline

Biography of actor Rock Hudson focuses on his struggle with his homosexuality. Based on the book by his ex-wife, Phyllis Gates, and on the court records from the civil suit brought by his former lover, Marc Christian. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Biography | Drama

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8 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La double vie de Rock Hudson  »

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1.33 : 1
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A life in the closet
17 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

Although Thomas Ian Nicholas fulfills my own conception of what an actor playing Rock Hudson should be and William R. Moses is giving the best possible face on the interpretation of Marc Christian we are left very unsatisfied with this portrayal of Rock Hudson, a film star I grew up with and one of the last products of the fabled studio system with all its strengths and faults.

When Roy Fitzgerald was christened by Henry Willson as Rock Hudson he began a life in denial. Hudson followed in the footsteps of people like William Haines and Ross Alexander for whom the closet was too great a burden, Haines walked out of the acting business and Alexander was a suicide. It killed Rock Hudson too, it just took decades to happen.

It's important to remember that Hudson was a product of America's midwest heartland with all the values therein inculcated in him from his birth. Being gay was just not something someone discussed in polite society. Compounding that Hudson entered a profession that was built on image. It would not do with the rigid stereotypes we had back in the day for the All American male to be gay.

Andrew Robinson plays Willson who was gay himself and had many a gay client. Hudson was his number one client. When Confidential magazine threatened to blow up his career, Willson fed them some of his lesser clients like Rory Calhoun had a prison record come to light. Hudson certainly went along with it because he had grown used to the life of a celebrity film star. In many ways Robinson had the most interesting role in the film, in fact a life of Henry Willson would be far more interesting than any of his celebrity clients.

Like other players who got into films on their looks and sex appeal like Tyrone Power and Robert Taylor, Rock Hudson worked hard and learned his craft so that he could deliver a decent acting performance. The story about his one line debut in Fighter Squadron and having 38 takes to deliver it is part of Hollywood legend. What is not mentioned is that Henry Willson certainly had the connections to keep him in the game otherwise after about the fifth take we'd have never heard of Rock Hudson. Secondly director Raoul Walsh had him star in three of his films later, Sea Devils, Gun Glory, and The Lawless Breed. He must have seen something in him.

Rock Hudson's life was in the closet, it was the price you paid back in the day for a career in front of the camera. With a little more historical perspective we might get a better version of the life of Rock Hudson. I certainly hope so.


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