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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 (book), Rob Epstein (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:
Lily Tomlin ... Narrator
Tony Curtis ... Himself
Susie Bright ... Herself
Arthur Laurents ... Himself
Armistead Maupin ... Himself
Whoopi Goldberg ... Herself
Jan Oxenberg Jan Oxenberg ... Herself
Harvey Fierstein ... Himself
Quentin Crisp Quentin Crisp ... Himself
Richard Dyer Richard Dyer ... Himself
Jay Presson Allen ... Herself
Mrs. Gustav Ketterer Mrs. Gustav Ketterer ... Herself
Gore Vidal ... Himself
Will H. Hays ... Himself (archive footage)
Farley Granger ... 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:

France | UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Celluloid Closet See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,507,800
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Michael Ontkean not only declined to be interviewed for the documentary, but also attempted to prevent clips from his film Making Love (1982) from being shown in it. He was unsuccessful. 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.
See more »

Connections

Features Manslaughter (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Secret Love
Music by Sammy Fain
Words by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by Doris Day
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating and important documentary
31 October 2000 | by fleaglesSee all my reviews

The Celluloid Closet is a documentary that examines Hollywood and homosexuality, and how gays and lesbians have been portrayed in films.. It actually all began in 1895, with Thomas Edison's film of two men dancing together!

Beginning in the 1930's, filmmakers, because of the strict production code in place at the time, constantly inserted gay and lesbian themes and storylines, and the earliest gay male character was always the `sissy', and lesbians could only be used if they were presented as dangerous predators. In viewing the film clips, some scenes from certain films are more overt than others, especially in non-gay or lesbian themed films. For example, Jane Russell, in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, sings in a room of half-naked man, none of whom pay any attention to her. A less overt example features a scene from Red River in which Montgomery Clift and another actor discuss their pistols after removing them from their holsters. Numerous writers, directors, and actors, including Gore Vidal, Susie Bright, John Schlesinger, Tom Hanks, and Susan Sarandon, all comment on their roles in this aspect of film history. This is an important and always interesting documentary that should be seen by everyone, no matter their sexual orientation.

Vote: 10


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