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Behind the Candelabra (2013)

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A chronicle of the tempestuous six year romance between megastar singer, Liberace, and his young lover, Scott Thorson.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writers:

Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Scott Thorson (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,656 ( 433)
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 41 wins & 49 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Scott Thorson
Scott Bakula ... Bob Black
Eric Zuckerman ... Lou
Eddie Jemison ... Assistant Director
Randy Lowell ... Director
Tom Roach Tom Roach ... Stunt Actor
Shamus Cooley Shamus Cooley ... Camera Assistant
John Smutny John Smutny ... Sound Mixer
Jane Morris ... Rose Carracappa
Garrett M. Brown ... Joe Carracappa
Michael Douglas ... Liberace
Pat Asanti ... George Liberace
Debbie Reynolds ... Frances Liberace
Casey Kramer ... Dora Liberace
Cheyenne Jackson ... Billy Leatherwood
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful"


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Liberace See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was some concern during production about how Liberace's heavy cigarette smoking would be depicted, as Michael Douglas had vowed to quit the habit after being told his cancer was in remission in January 2011. See more »

Goofs

Scott's foster parent house had Sanitas wall covering with the plaid and wheat pattern in the kitchen area which wasn't available until after 1983. See more »

Quotes

Scott Thorson: Being somebody's boyfriend, I didn't picture my life like this. I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Liberace: You want to help animals? Pick up the dog shit.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.84 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Tico Tico
Written by Zequinha de Abreu (as Zequinha Abreu) and Ervin Drake
Piano Performed by Liberace
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
HBO Is The Hero Here
9 August 2014 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Congrats to HBO for having the guts to produce a script which mainstream studios refused to consider. "Behind The Candelabra" gives us a story about Liberace's personal life, from the POV of his one time lover, "blond Adonis" Scott Thorson. The plot spans some ten years, from 1977 to Liberace's death in 1987.

Aside from his public persona, Liberace (Michael Douglas) comes across as egotistical, daring, self-absorbed, and to some extent old-fashioned in his values and beliefs. Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) comes across as passive, a tad lazy, and lacking in foresight and intellect. The plot's first half presents us with a love story. In the second half, reality sets in. One gets the feeling that though there may have been love between the two, Scott is just one more object for Liberace to collect, which was easy for him given his wealth. That kind of material relationship speaks poorly of both men.

This film has a big cast, and some well-known names. Rob Lowe is terrific as a humorously bizarre plastic surgeon. Debbie Reynolds, as Lee's elderly mother, is so good that she is unrecognizable. Nearly all of the actors give fine performances. Michael Douglas especially deserves credit given that Liberace's mannerisms and image are so well known.

Lavish custom costumes, detailed and elaborate production design, tons of subtle and not-so-subtle makeup all combine to add enormously to the story's credibility, as does the cinematography. Interior lighting makes Liberace's on-stage performances come alive. Music is, not unexpectedly, what Liberace liked, to some extent stuffy and old-fashioned.

I was never a Liberace fan. But he was a much-beloved entertainer and talented pianist, who had a long show business career. That the Hollywood studios turned this script down tells us a great deal about Hollywood. The real hero in this film is not a character so much as it is HBO. Maybe there is hope that quality films can still be made, despite cowardly industry insiders.


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