Last edited: 07-07-2002

Gay Movie History

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Gay Movie History

In a hundred years of movies, homosexuality has only rarely been depicted on the screen.
When it did appear, it was there as something to laugh at -- or something to pity -- or even something to fear.

These were fleeting images, but they were unforgettable, and they left a lasting legacy. Hollywood, that great maker of myths, taught straight people what to think about gay people... and gay people what to think about themselves.

In fact, homosexuality, or the suggestion of it, has been with us since the movies were born.

The first ever movie made with two men dancingOne of the earliest surviving motion picture images is a primitive test made at Thomas Edison's studio, in which two men dance together while a third plays the fiddle. From the very beginning movies could rely on homosexuality as surefire source of humor.

 

But things would change !

(Passages in italics are excerpts of narration from "The Celluloid Closet" )

Table of contents

1  

The Early Years

7  

Finally it happened !

2  

The Sissy

8  

Gay Liberation

3  

Censorship starts

9  

The 80's

4  

Subtlety reigns

10  

Gay goes into hate

5  

Accustomed

11  

Hollywood's ambivalence

6  

Cut, cut, cut !

12  

Aids

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