Get your popcorn ready, get comfortable on the sofa and turn the TV to the Turner channel.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and FilmStruck will celebrate Pride Month this June with extensive movie lineups dedicated to exploring LGBT themes in cinema.
Honoring a number of LGBT actors and artists whose talents helped them overcome the roadblocks they faced because of their orientation or gender identity, TCM will spotlight Gay Hollywood, hosted by entertainment journalist Dave Karger and author and historian William Mann, every Thursday in June, and FilmStruck will present a Gay and Lesbian Cinema showcase, hosted by film critic Alonso Duralde.
Before the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, Hollywood’s LGBT community was forced to stay in the shadows, both on the screen and off. Depictions of same-sex love in the movies were rare and often coded, and members of the film industry were expected to draw a discreet veil over any such tendencies. The sexual revolution and the increasingly visible LGBT-rights movement began to open up new opportunities for LGBT stars and stories to be brought out of the “celluloid closet.”
TCM’s Gay Hollywood will take a look at both open and closeted stars throughout film history, including:
MGM star William Haines (Just a Gigolo, 1931) is considered the first openly gay Hollywood actor. For nearly 50 years, he shared his life with his partner, Jimmie Shields. And despite seeing his movie career end after refusing to give in to studio demands, he went on to enjoy an enormously successful career as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after interior designers
Some celebrities of the 1940s, though widely known to be gay, remained closeted during their careers, including composer Cole Porter (Night and Day, 1946) and actor Clifton Webb (The Razor’s Edge, 1946)
Several top male heartthrobs of the 1950s and ’60s, including Rock Hudson (All That Heaven Allows, 1955), Montgomery Clift (Suddenly, Last Summer, 1959) and Anthony Perkins (Psycho, 1960), were gay, although they remained closeted during all or most of their careers.
Two of America’s finest playwrights were gay and had their seminal plays adapted for the screen, including Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958) and Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966)
Actress Linda Hunt (The Year of Living Dangerously, 1982) has been open about her marriage to her partner Karen Kline.
It may have taken him a while, but Oscar® winner Joel Grey (Cabaret, 1972) eventually came out of the closet in 2015 at the age of 82
FilmStruck will explore the ways in which cultural and societal institutions have often suppressed sexual orientation over the course of history, including in the cinema. FilmStruck’s Gay and Lesbian Cinema bundle will highlight movie depictions of same-sex love with a wide variety of films from different eras, including:
Parting Glances (1986) – Bill Sherwood’s honest and open drama looks at a gay couple facing an impending separation when one goes overseas for a job assignment while his partner stays in Manhattan to care for his best friend who is dying of AIDS.
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) – Rob Epstein won an Oscar for this powerful documentary chronicling the life and activism of murdered gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk.
Victim (1961) – Basil Dearden’s groundbreaking drama stars Dirk Bogarde as a barrister who decides to fight back after being blackmailed over his homosexuality.
Another Country (1984) – Rupert Everett stars as a gay Eton student in this drama based on the play by Julian Mitchell and inspired by the life of double agent Guy Burgess. Colin Firth, in his film debut, co-stars as a fellow student with Marxist tendencies.
The Watermelon Woman (1996) – Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema
“Our June programming lineups will show how stars and filmmakers from Hollywood and around the globe have navigated around the demands of societal restrictions to tell LGBT stories, while also celebrating some of the stars and artists whose careers have been affected – both positively and negatively – by views of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming & production for TCM and FilmStruck. “We look forward to exploring their lives, work and sharing their stories with our fans.”