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Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema Paperback – December 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oldcastle Books (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842432915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842432914
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

In this lavish history, Davies (A–Z of Cult Films and Filmmakers) examines gay cinema from its earliest days through the present. He organizes the material by decade, beginning with pre-1960s cinema, and discusses various films within their social contexts—from when the subject was off-limits and expressed on-screen only via symbolic codes and icons, through Stonewall and AIDS, to when gay people and gay themes were openly accepted and became central to certain films. Davies follows each chapter with biographical summaries of key actors and directors and includes in-depth examples of the genre's development, from Midnight Cowboy (1969) and La Cage aux Folles (1978) to Torch Song Trilogy (1988), Philadelphia (1993), and Brokeback Mountain (2005). A generous selection of photos and movie stills and an excellent foreword by Simon Callow nicely complement this work. A thoughtful and well-presented overview of the subject with insightful perspectives on the complex role and social, political, and artistic impact of gay cinema within modern culture.—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Steven Paul Davies is the author of A-Z of Cult Films and Filmmakers, Alex Cox: Film Anarchist, Get Carter and Beyond: The Cinema of Mike Hodges, and The Prisoner Handbook, and the coauthor of Brat Pack Confidential.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Olson on February 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
It has been a very exciting thing to watch the tremendous continuing expansion of LGBT cinema. Rather than illuminating that growth, I have to say that Steven Paul Davies's ambitiously entitled book does nothing more than attempt to capitalize on the phenomenon. For the most part it reads like an updated Cliff's Notes version of Vito Russo's groundbreaking overview of homosexuality in the movies, The Celluloid Closet or a cheap rip-off of Ray Murray's excellent encyclopedia of queer cinema, Images In The Dark. If you want a great LGBT film book -- get one of those.

Honestly, the majority of Out At The Movies: A History of Gay Cinema reads like a sophomore thesis. It consists primarily of lengthy plot descriptions and re-heated platitudes on how gay images have evolved over the years. Substantial amounts of this text read like over-enthusiastic marketing copy straight from the back of a video box.

I might add that the book's nominal inclusion of lesbian films convey a stunning ignorance of lesbian film history (the book somehow, amazingly, manages to have no mention at all of Desert Hearts -- the single most successful and popular lesbian film of all time).

As a film critic, I frequently refrain from writing reviews of works that I don't like. I prefer to champion things I enjoy, rather than trash the things I don't. All of which to say, rarely do I feel compelled to write a negative review. This is an extremely disappointing book. If you're looking for a real "History of Gay Cinema" -- look elsewhere.

I would also strongly recommend Alonso Duralde's 101 Must See Movies for Gay Men as an alternative to this book. Alonso is a terrifically entertaining and thoughtful writer with smart opinions and genuine perspectives on, well, more than 100 movies that you really must see!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. loucks on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives a great in-depth look at gay cinema and how far the movie industry has come all these years. It also gives you insight on the stars, background of the actors and in general, full info on the movies of the period. Highly recommend this book to all movie buffs.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on May 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's an ambitious undertaking ... trying to compile a cohesive "history" of GLBT-themed films through the past 60+ years. Unfortunately, I think the effort falls far short of what it could have been.

Davies puts together a pricey 204 page softcover book that seems to have only slightly more detail about many films than I have seen in DVD catalogues. The films are arranged chronologically by decade, and he starts off each section with a rather fluffy "This was the time when..." introduction that does little but try to work in the titles of as many films as he can, only about 25% of which are actually spotlighted in any detail, individually in the section that follows the introduction. The latter listings provide very little content that you would not find on the back of a DVD box or studio's publicity sheet about the film, and are followed by a couple of fluff pieces about a couple of stars or filmmakers of the time. There's also a section listing Oscar nominations and wins of some GLBT films that had such recognition. If this book were an accident, there would be a police officer saying "Move along, nothing to see here." And he'd be right.

Davies mentions probably over 250 films, but spotlights (including some for only a paragraph or two) 64 of that number, slighting titles that many readers would consider more important or relevant than the ones chosen. It is therefore less a "history" of gay cinema than a "selected commentaries" on some titles that make up that history, and the reader can feel appropriately shortchanged. Numerous good-quality (but most small) pictures, often the same ones you'd see on DVD boxes. Probably a viable gift idea for a real hardcore gay film fanatic, but there are other, more focused yet comprehensive books on the subject out there. I'd give this just two stars out of five.
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