Dir. John Huston, 1967
Starring: Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor
A magnificent film on the evils of internalised homophobia
Carson McCullers may or may not have been lesbian, but she certainly wrote a truckload of brilliant queer literature, including the novel adapted for the screen as Reflections on a Golden Eye. This extraordinary film also features two of the greatest actors in history, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, and the direction of a master filmmaker, John Huston.
And yet, perhaps the most memorable of all the magic ingredients which make this film so magnificent is the cinematography of Aldo Tonti, who had begun his career twenty five years earlier working on a queer film by Luchino Visconti. Tonti’s golden lighting lingers in the mind long after the film is over… long after the pulse has quietened down, the fever has receded, and we have stopped trembling. To watch this film is to share in the scorching passions and the childhood terrors the characters experience.
We walk with them on a tight rope — we feel their frustration, their hopelessness, and their determination. Sex is in the air, sex is the air, and we can’t breathe. We know were to find what we need, but we may as well be up to our necks in quicksand, because we can’t reach it. We are buried in our own internalised homophobia. No one will come to rescue us. We will have to perform this impossible feat by ourselves, we will have to pull ourselves up and out. But how? How?
Brando —bisexual in real life— is absolutely compelling as the repressed Major Weldon Penderton, and Taylor shines as Leonora Penderton, in a reprise of her Cat on a Hot Tin Roof role as the neglected but resourceful wife to a closet case. But why is it that the film is wrapped in a golden hue, says you? Ah, because for better or worse being queer is another way of seeing.
About EVIL SEASON “MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW”
screenings @ 3:00 pm
doors open @ 2:30 pm
come early and join us in the foyer for free tea & coffee
Our schedule is subject to change due to availability of films from Film Distributors.
Our next season will offer you another exclusive selection of fantastic LGBTQ films which are either little known, or completely forgotten, or which have failed to get the attention they deserve. We are calling this season the “Evil Season: ‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know'”.
After our roller-coaster Season Two, “Around the World in the 80s”, we are traveling back in time to the 1940s, 50s and 60s (we will be stopping in 1968, the year Stonewall changed gay history). In Season Three, we are going to take a look at some gloriously gay films from Hollywood, made under heavy censorship but managing to tell amazing queer stories in exciting new ways. By contrast, we will also look at the freedom of European films of the period, talking about homosexuality with a mater-of-factness which is often shocking.
Our next ten screenings are “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. That’s how Lord Byron was described by an ex-lover, and we are borrowing the tag for Season Three! The poet Byron, leading light of the Romantic movement in England and a hero of the Greek war of independence, was also famous for his sexual conquests, which did not discriminate between women and men. The writer Caroline Lamb —who after some resistance, succumbed to his charms — said of Byron that he was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. Of course, the aura of danger and lawlessness, and the rumours of depravity, made Lord Byron all the more alluring. His ‘wicked’ side was officially disapproved of, but it turned him into a sex symbol…
All our films for Season Three have one thing in common: they deal with evil — evil gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people, yes, but also with the curse of internalised homophobia, and with the horrors of a society that cant cope with black sheep. Some of our films have great gay baddies, other films pretend to condemn us so they can publicize gay culture, and others are about people who are dying for an opportunity to be “bad”.
In short, in Season Three we will see some of the lesser known but most intelligent portraits of gay people ever created, we will laugh at society’s boring obsession with normalcy, and we will also celebrate evil. That’s right, we will embrace the “intrinsic evilness” that Mr Ratzinger finds so scary, and we will celebrate it. Because, lets face it, it has been a blessing for many of us — enriching our lives with excitement, fun, tenderness, friendship… not to mention some truly fantastic films!
Evil Season. It’ll be a thrill.