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The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies Revised Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The position Russo takes and the interpretations he offers are nothing short of fascinating, and THE CELLULOID CLOSET holds up extremely well to re-reading. Even so, it is essentially an excellent work by an amateur writer. For all the power of its interpretations and arguments, the text is badly structured, and too often the tone of the prose seems less about the films under consideration than about the personality that considers them. And there are frequent factual errors in the text, with Russo's comments on the cult favorite The Rocky Horror Show perhaps the most glaring case in point.
Although Russo's omnipresent personality tends to undercut his prose at times, it is an engaging personality, and in a certain sense it drives the narrative--and indeed does a great deal to make the book's shifting structure seem more acceptable than it would have otherwise been.Read more ›
occasionally get the feeling that the directors
are straining to make a point about homosexuality
in old movies. But you never feel this way reading
Russo's book. Russo is not a gifted prose stylist,
the writing of the book is wel, it's prosaic, but
he's a good writer with a keen eye and an excellent
memory. If you've seen the movie and enjoyed it get this
book to complete the experience.
This was a ground breaking book in 1985, and it still is a fascinating, information filled read that is essential to any student of GLBT history. Film historian Vito Russo offers dozens of stories and photos that show how our community has been portrayed on film since the silent era. A significant amount of Russo's research focuses on gay and lesbian portrayals as both sex objects and seductive villains, before the advent of the Hayes office in 1934. The Hayes office effectively "outlawed" the presence of any gay character on film unless they were shown as despicable villains who were ultimately punished, usually dying by the end of the movie.
By the time Russo's book was published in the mid 80s, Hayes office restrictions against sex, crime, and violence had generally faded away, however, Russo shows how film depictions of GLBT people were still showing the intolerant views of pre-war conservative attitudes.
In 1995, Lily Tomlin helped to finance a documentary film version of Russo's research. It not only features dozens of classic movie clips, but contains a series of interviews by Hollywood stars, writers and historians, including openly GLBT people like Farley Granger and Gore Vidal, and supportive allies like Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon. (It's worth seeing just for Sarandon's take on sex scenes with Catherine Deneve).
The documentary presents a great deal of information that is not in the book. But readers should note that the book contains a vast amount of material not in the movie. Don't miss either. They are both funny, sexy and thought provoking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Vito is the reason we have gay film studies.
filled with information and challenging stereo types and stock film characters.. Read more
Nearly three decades after the final revised edition appeared, Vito Russo's "The Celluloid Closet" is still an impressive achievement and a compulsive read. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Miles D. Moore
A classic book by activist Vito Russo. To viewers and readers these days, this book may seem outdated. Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by Nora
The author did very good research and great photos we love Vito . Love seeing Hope Emerson from Caged she was greatPublished on November 19, 2013 by Ron Rob
book was dense with history, relevant research. well written and comprehensive. well worth the price and was received early and in excellent condition. true valuePublished on December 28, 2012 by Michael OConnor