7.8/10
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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

This documentary, which was based on the eponymous book by film scholar Vito Russo, was narrated and co-executive produced by Lily Tomlin. Russo, who died of AIDS in 1990, did not live to see the documentary. Russo and Tomlin were close friends; Russo wrote some material for her comedy shows, and while Russo was writing the book The Celluloid Closet, Tomlin let him stay, rent-free, in a house she was not using at the time. See more »

Quotes

Quentin Crisp: Mainstream people dislike homosexuality because they can't help concentrating on what homosexual men do to one another. And when you contemplate what people do, you think of yourself doing it. And they don't like that. That's the famous joke: I don't like peas, and I'm glad I don't like them, because if I liked them I would eat them and I hate them.
See more »

Connections

Features Silkwood (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Secret Love (Reprise)
Written by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster
Performed by k.d. lang (as K. D. Lang)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent documentary
14 February 2000 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Entertaining, thought-provoking and (at times) very funny documentary chronicling gay subject matter in motion pictures from the silents up to 1995. The narration (by Lily Tomlin) is insightful and the cameos and comments by various stars who have played gay (Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Hamlin) or are gay (Harvey Feinstein, the late Quentin Crisp, Paul Rudnick) are very entertaining and in two cases (with Susan Sarandon and Gore Vidal) utterly uproarious. Special attention should be paid to the "Ben-Hur" segment when you realize Stephen Boyd was playing it gay and Charlton Heston was totally oblivious! This is a very important film and should be seen by everybody gay OR straight. A must for film buffs. Don't miss this one! My only complaint--it's too short! The DVD version has extra interviews that are just great.


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