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Behind the Candelabra

1,707 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Behind the Candelabra (DVD)

Now that Behind the Candelabra, the HBO movie about the secret relationship between pianist/entertainer Liberace and former animal trainer Scott Thorson, has won three Emmys (including statues for best movie or miniseries, lead actor Michael Douglas, and director Steven Soderbergh), it's hard to imagine that this was once a film that no one wanted to make. "Too gay," they said. But after languishing in development for several years, and with Soderbergh, Douglas, and Matt Damon attached, the film finally premiered in 2013--and it is a triumph. Damon is thoroughly convincing as Thorson (whose book supplied the source material), the callow, not-especially-bright young man so susceptible to Liberace's charming, unctuous persuasions (things get nutty when Scott agrees to undergo extensive plastic surgery designed to turn him into a younger version of "Lee," as the pianist's friends call him). Screenwriter Richard LaGravenese's dialogue is hilarious ("In gay years," one character tells Scott, "you're Judy during the Sid Luft obese period"), while Soderbergh's directorial choices are also amusing. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is clearly having a field day: Rob Lowe (as the cosmetic surgeon) and Debbie Reynolds (as Liberace's mother) gleefully chew the scenery, while Scott Bakula and Dan Aykroyd are entertaining as well. But this is Douglas's show, and he steals it. His performance isn't a caricature. Nor is it a parody, or an impersonation; the real Liberace, a guy whose name was seemingly always preceded by "flamboyant," was such an over-the-top character that Douglas merely has to play it straight, so to speak. In the process, he sheds light not only on Liberace's manipulative tendencies ("Scott, why don't you let me decide what's important?") but also his vulnerabilities--especially at the end, when he and Thorson have one last poignant meeting following a bitter falling out. The filmmakers also have something valuable to say about gay culture during a period when celebrities like Liberace and Rock Hudson tried desperately to stay in the closet, especially after contracting AIDS. --Sam Graham

Special Features

Making of Behind The Candelabra *Package illustrated is not final*

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula
  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,707 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D2CYU2W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,545 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Behind the Candelabra" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Even though I was quite young, I can still remember the infamous palimony suit filed by Scott Thorson against Liberace in 1982. The story created national headlines and scandal at a time when homosexuality wasn't discussed as openly as it might be today. Despite his flamboyant stage persona, Liberace was NOT out of the closet and did not acknowledge the intimacy of this relationship. That's part of what fueled the attention, further adding to the controversy and media scrutiny. I won't discuss the outcome for those new to Thorson's memoir "Behind The Candelabra," which is the source material for this prestigious HBO project. Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) teamed with Oscar nominated screenwriter Richard La Gravenese (The Fisher King) to adapt Thorson's book. Headlined by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, "Behind the Candelabra" was certainly one of the most anticipated TV movies of the year. As you might expect, though, this is told from Thorson's perspective and is quite sympathetic to his viewpoint. Let's just say that we do not hear about his drug fueled involvement as a prime witness in the Wonderland murders (also in the early eighties) or his contemporary incarceration for suspected burglary and identity theft charges (he was recently bailed out of jail by the owner of Bunny Ranch brothel at the end of May). Even the movie's postscript just says that Thorson is currently residing in Reno when, in fact, he was in jail on the film's premiere.

That said, though, HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" is a handsomely produced and exquisitely acted piece of entertainment. By his very nature, Liberace was (and always will be) a fascinating and improbable success story.
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Format: Blu-ray
"I want to be everything to you Scott. I want to be father, brother, lover, best friend." This is the true story of Scott Thorson (Damon) and his relationship with the one and only Liberace (Douglas). Scott was a normal easy going gay man with a dream to become a vet. That all changed when he met Liberace. The small town boy became a drug addicted, paranoid, and revenge obsessed man. I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this movie. I knew very little about the real Liberace and nothing about this story at all. The movie shows the rise and fall Scott and the extreme things he goes through for the man he loves. The story is pretty interesting but the real reason to watch is the performance of Michael Douglas. He is great in this and turns himself completely into the character that he makes you forget you are watching a famous actor like Michael Douglas. Overall, a pretty interesting bio-pic that I thought was pretty good but the performance by Douglas is great. I give it a B.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2013
Format: DVD
The film is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Scott Thorson (with Alex Thorleifson) adapted for the screen by Richard LaGravenese about the tempestuous 6-year relationship between Liberace and his much younger lover Scott Thorson. This film along with SIDE EFFECTS are purported to be Steven Soderbergh's last films he will direct.

The cast is very solid. Matt Damon embodies the role of Scott Thorson well - a young apparently bisexual man who has been tossed from foster home to foster home while he does odd jobs (he is 17 years old) tending to animals. In a gay bar he meets Bob Black (Scott Bakula) who takes Scott to a Liberace concert (his first exposure to the megastar) and to meet Liberace afterwards. There is tension in the air with Liberace's current paramour and performing partner Billy Leatherwood (Cheyenne Jackson) and we soon discover that Liberace (impeccably played by Michael Douglas) only keeps his `boys' around for a while before his manager Seymour (Dan Ackroyd) gets rid of them with a check. Liberace and Scott find common ground in being needy people without confidants and soon Scott becomes Liberace's next lover. All goes swimmingly until Liberace sees himself on a TV show and sees how aged he has become. He engages plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Startz (Rob Lowe in a very fine performance) to perform a youthful facelift and at the same time convinces Scott to undergo plastic surgery to make him look more like Liberace! And here begins the downfall: Dr. Startz prescribes pain meds to Scott who becomes addicted and moves into heavier drugs, and his behavior, along with Liberace's need for a `new face' (Boyd Holbrook), signals the breakup of a 6 year relationship - the best relationship either has ever had.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By W. Pender on June 8, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
When I heard that Michael Douglas and Matt Damon were to carry the lead roles in this story, I was VERY dubious. They are both sensational actors but I'm just so used to Michael Douglas doing films where he gets into trouble with crazy women. Behind the Candelabra is quite a leap but he and Mr. Damon carry it off beautifully. I was simply astounded. The film seemed pretty close to real life from what I remember of Liberace and the music throughout just heightened this refreshing experience. I would rate this as one of the films of the year and would even say it it's one of the best performances by both lead gentlemen. The supporting cast was also great and all comes together to create a magnificent viewing experience. If you're turned off by a story of gay relationships, get over it and settle down to watch Behind the Candelabra. It's tastefully and artistically a masterpiece.
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