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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 ›
Russo presents a panoramic view of homosexuality in the movies over nearly a century, beginning with an Edison experimental film of two men dancing a waltz and ending with gay-themed films that appeared toward the end of his tragically brief life. Some of these later films, such as "Parting Glances" with Steve Buscemi, represented a tremendous advance in the portrayal of gays on screen. Others, such as "Cruising" with Al Pacino, were so disgustingly violent and negative that they triggered street protests. In between, Russo presents some fascinating stories about early gay-themed movies, such as "Anders als die Anderen" (Different from the Others), a 1919 German silent starring Conrad Veidt as a gay concert violinist who responds to blackmail by committing suicide. The Nazis destroyed every copy of "Anders als die Anderen" they could find (in one case, Russo reports, opening fire on theater patrons in Vienna); only one partial copy, found in Ukraine, survives today.
Though some crirics have complained that Russo ignored social theory in his analysis, or that he failed to consider important gay directors such as Eisenstein and Fassbinder, "The Celluloid Closet" is still a fascinating and informative book. It's too bad no one has taken up Russo's torch. There have been articles and books about LGBT cinema since Russo's death in 1990, but nothing as magisterial as "The Celluloid Closet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great study of gay characters and themes through the history of films.Published 2 months ago by dolores plumlee
Vito is the reason we have gay film studies.
filled with information and challenging stereo types and stock film characters.. Read more
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
Vito Russo's seminal work on representations of gay and lesbian people in motion pictures is an essential read for anyone interested in the subject. Read morePublished on July 17, 2012 by Eugene S.
Valley Gay Press Book Reviewer: Liz Bradbury (Author of Angel Food and Devil Dogs - A Maggie Gale Mystery)
This was a ground breaking book in 1985, and it still is a... Read more