Friday, September 03, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Suddenly Last Summer

An infamous Tennessee Williams play (1958) made into an infamous movie (1959) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn.

And I never in a million years understand a part of it. The plot centers around a psychiatrist investigating why a wealthy New Orleans woman wants her niece lobotomized.

Apparently it has to due with the death of the woman's son, a man named Sebastian. He died mysteriously on a trip with the niece. So what does it have to do with the lgbt community? Read on if you want me to spoil it for you.

Apparently Sebastian (who is never seen, even in the flashbacks) had his cousin accompany him his usual trip to Spain because he was using her to attract the impoverished young men there. Before her, he was using his mother but she had gotten too old.

On the trip in question, the young men whom he was exploiting gathered together and took a nasty vengeance on him. They (wait for it) ate him.

And to this day, I will never understand that plot twist.

The movie itself was a hit, garnering Oscar nominations for both Taylor and Hepburn. According to the Internet Movie Database:

Screenwriter Gore Vidal credits film critic Bosley Crowther with the success of this film. Crowther wrote a scathing review denouncing the film as the work of degenerates obsessed with rape, incest, homosexuality, and cannibalism among other qualities. Vidal believes advertising such salacious detail made audiences flock in droves to the film.

And here is another bit of trivia for you. While the gay man in the center of movie was never seen or heard, one of the cast members was the legendary actor Montgomery Clift, whose inability to deal with his own homosexuality helped lead to his death.

Two years before, an awful car accident had damaged his face and psyche. He was heavily into drugs at the time and it caused problems on the set for a number of reasons, as did his sexual orientation. However, he had an ally in Katherine Hepburn. Also from the Internet Movie Database:

According to author Garson Kanin in his memoir "Tracy and Hepburn", Katharine Hepburn was reportedly so furious at the way Montgomery Clift was treated by Sam Spiegel and Joseph L. Mankiewicz during the filming that, after making sure that she would not be needed for retakes, she told both men off and actually spat at them (although it remains unclear just which one of the two she spat at, or if she spat at both.)

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Know Your LGBT History - Gay TV Now

Know Your LGBT History - Stewardess School

Know Your LGBT History - Up the Academy

Know Your LGBT History - Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood

Know Your LGBT History - A Different Story

Know Your LGBT History - Victim

Know Your LGBT History - The Color Purple

Know Your LGBT History - Making Love

Know Your LGBT History - A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

Know Your LGBT History - Noah's Arc

Know Your LGBT History - Ode to Billy Joe

Know Your LGBT History - Adorable Adrian Adonis

Know Your LGBT History - The Night Strangler

Know Your LGBT History - All in the Family

Know Your LGBT History - Tongues Untied

Know Your LGBT History - The Celluloid Closet

Know Your LGBT History - Querelle

Know Your LGBT History - Theatre of Blood

Know Your LGBT History - Strange Fruit

Know Your LGBT History - Designing Women

Know Your LGBT History - The Children's Hour

Know Your LGBT History - Sylvester

Know Your LGBT History - Once Bitten

Know Your LGBT History - The Boys in the Band

Know Your LGBT History - Christopher Morley, the crossdressing assassin

Know Your LGBT History - Midnight Cowboy

Know Your LGBT History - Dracula's Daughter

Know Your LGBT History - Blacula

Know Your LGBT History - 3 Strikes

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

Know your LGBT History - Soul Plane

Know Your LGBT History - The Player's Club

Special Know Your LGBT History - Fame

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community  

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Tea partier makes tasteless joke about Matthew Shepard and other Friday midday news briefs

Mother: Anoka-Hennepin School policy contributed to gay son’s suicide - While Focus on the Family is spinning, lgbt children are dying.

Pacific Justice Institute DENIED by court; Schwarzenegger, Brown will not be forced to defend Prop 8 - Just in case you didn't hear about this.

Montana Tea Party president jokes about murdering gays and Matthew Shepard - When these folks talk about "taking the country back," crap like this is one of the reasons why I cringe.

Lambda Legal and HIV-Positive Retiree Settle Lawsuit Against North Little Rock Assisted Living Facility
- Good for Lambda Legal. It's amazing that so many in the community go ape@!& when it's time to criticize some of our lgbt organizations (and some of this criticism is legitimate) but are silent when our groups do good things.

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Remember the 'good old days' with Phil Donahue?

Yeah I know I'm late post. But I'm off from work today and am still working to get things together for SC Pride tomorrow. Plus, you know how Fridays are, particularly this one before the Labor Day weekend.

Remember when there were such things as good talk shows and decent hosts trying to get to the bottom of pertinent issues instead of 'baby mama dramas?"

Remember Donahue? Phil Donahue was one of the best. Although nowadays, he would be smeared as a "dirty liberal," he was, and still is heads and shoulders above almost anything put out in terms of talk shows.

These clips come from a show which featured a Gay Entertainment network. It's interesting to see and hear the anti-gay attitudes back then and realize how a lot of them haven't changed that much:

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