"Family" movies with under-the-radar gay Characters??

Discussion in 'Movies' started by DaViD Boulet, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Discussion started on this topic in a thread in the software forum (Bambi) so I thought I'd continue it here.

    I remember a few years back watching the Sound of Music...a film that I had grown up watching year after year since childhood. Suddenly I said to myself "hey, Uncle Max is *gay*!"

    No agenda. The movie wasn't making a point about it. In fact, I doubt if the director or screen-play writer even thought this to themselves when writing the character..."gay" wasn't really an issue on anyone's radar and in most American lives at the time, the obligatory gay-relative usually attended family events without ever "coming out" and may have even brought their "special friend" without anyone even considering the concept of a sexual relationship; Not even a don't-ask-don't-tell philosophy...the vocabulary for these individuals didn't even exist in the societies in which they lived.

    Watching "family" movies from the 1950's and 60's documents this experience time and again. Think of all those Danny Kaye films where he flits around and never really seems interested in the gorgeous girl he's got at his side. In Lover Come Back with Dorris Day/Rock Hudson, think of the interior decorator who has a lilac-colored floor in his kitchen.

    I doubt that the film writers of this era were conciously trying to express any issues of sexual orientation...I think they were just dealing with an invisible reality in their films the same way these realities were dealt with in society at the time.

    Any other good examples of "invisible" gay characters in "family" films you can think of?
     
  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    I just watched White Christmas for the first time this holiday and could not believe how *gay* Danny Kaye's character appears. He has that hot blonde dancer after him, and he is literally shinking from her advances and NEVER shows any signs of wanting any female love interest.

    I have heard the same rumors most people have about Danny Kaye, and having him play Hans Christian Anderson in the film of the same name, who was a homosexual, it seems a little too easy to tag Kaye as "all but confirmed."

    Certainly, I know more than a few gay men who could relate to Hans Christian Anderson's "The Ugly Duckling," because so many of us did go from having a complete lack of confidence in our youth to blossoming in adulthood.

    Since were are in the holiday season, I suppose it makes sense to mention Hermy, the misfit elf in Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer: He has a lisp, a blond "flip," and wants to be a dentist (right up there with hair stylists and interior decorators for "most likely career of a homosexual" if we're talking about stereotypes.) Funny that, I've often got my hair cut on the "boyfriend discount program," but never got my teeth whitened on the same program.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    I think there was a documentary film in the mid to late 90's called "The Celluloid Closet" or something like that, in which there were "coded" characters that were gay, but not explicitly so because of the social mores and norms of the day.

    Now how this relates to family films is a hot-button topic all its own. This subject was raised in the DVD boards in my thread on the upcoming Bambi release, when it was suggested that Flower was gay (even though Flower was shown falling in love with a female and later siring multiple children). To be frank, the sexual orientation of the old-school Disney animators is something I've never see discussed, so I couldn't tell you if certain characters such as The Reluctant Dragon or Bashful in Snow White were "code" for gay characters.

    In a larger sense, there are multiple family films made by Walt and Co. that explore issues such as social ostricizing, or characters that act differently than they are expected to within their society and are outcasts because of it -- Ferdinand the Bull immediately comes to mind, as does Lambert the Sheepish Lion. And there are many male characters who are effeminate, such as Prince John in Robin Hood, but I don't consider that a "gay" trait per se.
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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  5. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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  6. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    "Since were are in the holiday season, I suppose it makes sense to mention Hermy, the misfit elf in Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer"

    Definitely a metophor for a "coming out" experience if there ever was one...intended or not!

    The Reluctant Dragon...almost totally forgot about that one. Whew! Whenever I've got a good party going with lots of "family" and want to strike up some laughs I always put that one on and it never fails...that Dragon is so flamin' (pun intended) it's almost shocking.

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  8. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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  9. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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  10. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    i.e. LOTR and Alf pictures...I hope you people know that I'm joking. Just a little New Year's humour.

    Now this guy on the other hand...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. michael_mo

    michael_mo Stunt Coordinator

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    Piglet in The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
     
  12. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    In some strange way - I feel partly responsible for this.[​IMG]
     
  13. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I'm not sure I agree with the premise of this thread,For example, you mention Lover Come Back, but that followed another Rock Hudson/Doris Day film, Pillow Talk, in which there were quite obvious gay overtones (though admittedly the Rock Hudson character was straight, and only pretending to be gay to get into Doris Day's character's pants).

    I can think of many other examples in which a gay character was clearly intended, including Leonard in NxNW, Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca and others.
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Strangers on a train.

    Of course in characters like this and in Rebecca...the subliminally "gay" character was portrayed more directly...but also as a villian or someone who was mentally disturbed. Interesting that if the orientation issue got more direct...that this was often one way of dealing with it...since it delved into the realms of social deviant tones...
     
  16. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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  17. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    Ernest,

    As for Disney films, I do know that Thomas Shumacher, the openly gay head of (what was) Disney Animation, once discussed this with one the gay magazines. He had mentioned how many of Disney's themes, like being true to oneself in Aladdin, were messages that would mean something to gay audience members. (At the time they were promoting that film.) He even mentioned that Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted to make sure the Genie's line about "picking out curtains" in that film wouldn't offend the "gay community."

    Yes, I do tend to think of the genie as gay.

    Oh, and for Ben-Hur, while it is well-documented that Heston had no clue, the other actor was told that his character and Heston's had once been lovers. (All of this has been hotly debated back and forth between Gore Vidal and Heston.)
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    It isn't gay, but for me the "true to one's-self" themes of the little mermaid always rang of a "coming out" experience: Dealing with her taboo love for an forbidden world, fear of rejection and being misunderstood by her father...and falling in love with someone "impossible" to be with etc.

    -dave
     
  19. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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  20. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Of course you've got to wonder about Gilligan, The Skipper and the Professor, none of whom ever hit on Ginger or Mary Ann!
     

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