Question: First Time “Homosexual” was used in Movies?

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#1 Question: First Time “Homosexual” was used in Movies?

Postby fountainhall » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:40 am

There have been threads in the chat rooms about the first-ever gay kiss in movies. This is reckoned to have occurred either in the first Best Film Oscar winner “Wings” in 1927 or “Sunday Bloody Sunday” in 1971. My vote goes to the latter since the former is more of a farewell peck on the cheek whereas “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has the off-screen aggressively straight actor Peter Finch playing a gay doctor who places a smacking lips-on-lips kiss with the bisexual character played by Murray Head.

But with self-censorship exercised by the US movie moguls and homosexuality being illegal in England until 1967 (fifty years ago this month), when was the word “homosexual” uttered and by whom?

The movie was Basil Dearden’s 1961 “Victim”, a dark drama way ahead of its time dealing with the blackmailing of gay men. Stewart Grainger, James Mason and Jack Hawkins all turned down the lead male role of the closet gay barrister, no doubt because of the effect it might have on their careers. Ironically, it was accepted by the British matinee idol Dirk Bogarde. In his previous movies, it would be hard to imagine him as anything other than a randy young heterosexual. Bogarde was in fact gay, but was to remain in the closet all his life. It must therefore have taken a great deal of courage to play such a character. He was to go on to play other sexually ambiguous characters in Joseph Losey’s “The Servant” and Visconti’s “Death in Venice”.

As Bogarde was to say in this quote from an article in today’s Guardian,

It is extraordinary . . . to believe that this modest film could ever have been considered courageous, daring or dangerous to make. It was, in its time, all three. ... -narrative

“Victim” is being reissued in the UK on July 21.

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#2 Re: Question: First Time “Homosexual” was used in Movies?

Postby Smiles » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:27 pm

Otto Preminger made 'Advise & Consent' in 1962 (close on to '61). The movie had more than one story going on, but one of them was the tale of a closeted politician. He ended up a suicide.
I watched this movie at the theater in the early 60's and although the 'politics' story was terrific (Charles Laughton never had a bad scene in his life, even if he was in a bad movie) I had a bit of a time figuring out the gay angle. I was 14 or 15 years old then: gay kids grow up quicker and "get it" much earlier these days.
(Couldn't find a clip with Don Murray ... the gay dude. Hint: it's NOT Laughton :roll: )

Cheers ... ( and just one more reason why I love living in Thailand )


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