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Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A moving montage scrapbook of the lives of twenty-six gay men and lesbian women, representing a wide range of lifestyles, personalities, races, and ages. From the directors of 'Absolutely Positive.'

Review

A stunning documentary...unquestionably a landmark film --Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

A milestone! --Dennis Lim, New York Times

FIVE STARS! ! It could crack the stoniest heart. --Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: David Gillon, Sally Gearhart, Fred Gray, Dennis Chiu
  • Directors: Peter Adair, Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, Rob Epstein, Lucy Massie Phenix
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Full Screen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories/Milliarium Zero
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003E74KRK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,485 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert in NY VINE VOICE on April 5, 2010
Format: DVD
I first saw this documentary in the late `70s, when it was shown on the local PBS station in San Francisco where I then lived. (I recall some PBS stations refused to broadcast it at the time).

I had just purchased one of the first vcr's, and I taped it. That tape has lasted me all these years, but its physical quality (color, sound etc) obviously has deteriorated. And so I've often wondered when if ever it would be available on dvd. Well, some thirty years later, its finally "coming out".

Simply put, it must be considered one of the great works in gay history (and herstory), and is required viewing for anyone interested in understanding the on-going struggle for basic human rights and personal dignity. Documentaries (even awful ones) provide a fascinating glimpse at finite periods in time. Fortunately, this is a great one. It's beautifully edited and presented, with interviews of gays and lesbians, ranging in age from 20-ish to 70-ish. I believe one of them is Harry Hay, who was a founder of The Mattachine Society in about 1950. (He is currently the subject of a wonderful Off-Broadway play "The Temperamentals"). Other names will be familiar as well (the participant's are identified by name only in the final credits, at least on the vhs tape version).

This film was made just ten years after Stonewall, and the participants are all admirable for their courage in stepping before the camera at a time when it was not only unfashionable, but possibly dangerous, to reveal personal details of a "life style" still illegal in most jurisdictions. To a person they are incredibly articulate. The film does not tell a chronological story, and has no point of view per se.
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By A Customer on December 8, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is probably the best GLBT documentary ever made. It is poignant, funny, and provocative. While somewhat dated since so much has changed in the past 20+ years, the stories hold up and still speak to the human condition in a touching way. Also, it's probably just as necessary to give people a historical context of how far the community has come, not only since the film was made, but throughout the lives of the participants, including The Pioneer Harry Hay, who just died recently.
Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or knows any GLBT people should appreciate this film. And any member of the GLBT community should consider this mandatory viewing as an obligation to their own history, and those who came before.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This documentary is a great one. It carries the same feel as Epstein's other documentaries, COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT, THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, and THE CELLULOID CLOSET to name a few.
The film is comprised of many gay, lesbian, and transgendered people basically talking about all aspects of their life. Epstein and his codirectors did a good job presenting a variety of lifestyles: Black, white, mothers and fathers, the very young to the quite old. This truly encompasses much of the GLBT experience, in an entirely unbiased way, with people simply speaking for themselves.
I recommend this to all people, but especially to gays and lesbians.
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Format: DVD
"Word Is Out" was the first feature-length documentary about homosexuality made by gay filmmakers and was premiered in 1977. Twenty-six people of very different backgrounds, ages, races, and lifestyles were selected after interviewing 140 people to tell the stories of their lives.

Thank goodness times have improved compared to what these people had to deal with in 1977 or even as far back as the 1940s and 1950s for some. There is still a long way to go, but this film does serve as a marker for how much progress has been made in the meantime. For example, one lesbian couple even though they were excellent parents to their kids from previous marriages had them removed from their home due to the type of environment the kids were being raised in.

There are some amazing interviews that get these people to open up about when/how they discovered they were different from others and how it affected their lives. How it affected those around them and the challenges with finding other like-minded people to communicate with. Many of them felt like they were all alone in the world. Also they talked about what they hoped for in the future in terms of rights for gays and lesbians. One very vocal woman said it had to be about women only fighting for women's rights and not worry about the guys since women have it tougher.

Many of these stories are emotional and talk of the hardships of being sent away to a mental facility and threatened with or had electroshock therapy used upon them to "cure" them. A few stories are on the funny side like a bunch of women dressing like men to join up in the armed forces.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film in 1980 as an 18 year old, and I must say after watching it again recently, it really has impacted my life as a gay man -- my ideas and expectations of a life to come, what I wanted, what I didn't want. It also enabled me to see that a community existed, and that I was not alone. It makes me a bit sad to see the modern day community seeking to assimilate -- giving up so much of our history and character just to "blend" or "fit in." It also bothers me to see modern gays ashamed of the effeminate and theatrical among our ranks. There should be a place for all types in our community -- and "Word is Out" illustrates this notion beautifully.

I really enjoyed the extras of the DVD -- such as the filmmakers' recollections, and the updates on the interviewees haunts me still - the time that has passed so quickly, the dreams unfulfilled and the hopes abandoned (both theirs and my own), and the enormity of the loss and devastation resulting from AIDS. I only wish that gays under 40 would take the time to watch this and "Before Stonewall" -- so many are completely oblivious to the struggles, sacrifices and heartbreak of our past, and how it led to the more accepting society we know today.
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