7.8/10
6,140
53 user 31 critic

The Celluloid Closet (1995)

A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

Writers:

Vito Russo (based on the work of), Rob Epstein (story) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lily Tomlin ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Tony Curtis ... Self
Susie Bright ... Self
Arthur Laurents ... Self
Armistead Maupin ... Self
Whoopi Goldberg ... Self
Jan Oxenberg Jan Oxenberg ... Self
Harvey Fierstein ... Self
Quentin Crisp ... Self
Richard Dyer Richard Dyer ... Self
Jay Presson Allen ... Self
Mrs. Gustav Ketterer Mrs. Gustav Ketterer ... Self
Gore Vidal ... Self
Will H. Hays ... Self (archive footage)
Farley Granger ... Self
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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers originally planned a sequence discussing how gay historical figures were portrayed as heterosexual in films. They aborted the sequence when Richard Burton's estate denied the rights to Alexander the Great (1956), MGM denied use of Hans Christian Andersen (1952) (fearing that the filmmakers were trying to "out" Danny Kaye) and Charlton Heston declined use of The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) (claiming that Michelangelo was heterosexual). See more »

Quotes

Shirley MacLaine: None of us were really aware. We might have been forerunners, but we weren't really, because we didn't do the picture right. We were in the mindset of not understanding what we were basically doing. These days, there would be a tremendous outcry, as well there should be. Why would Martha break down and say, "Oh my god, what's wrong with me, I'm so polluted, I've ruined you." She would fight! She would fight for her budding preference. And when you look at it, to have Martha play that scene - ...
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Connections

Features Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Heat of the Moment
Written by Willie DeVille
Performed by Willie DeVille (uncredited)
Courtesy of Cherry Lane Music
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User Reviews

 
Out of the closet and into the picture
17 September 2005 | by jotix100See 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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Details

Country:

France | UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Celluloid Closet See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,047, 17 March 1996

Gross USA:

$1,400,591

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,400,591
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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