Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pillow Flop: Rock Hudson's Memory Deserves Better Than the Misguided '50S Hollywood-Closet Comedy Straight-Jacket

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pillow Flop: Rock Hudson's Memory Deserves Better Than the Misguided '50S Hollywood-Closet Comedy Straight-Jacket

Article excerpt

Straight-Jacket * Written and directed by Richard Day * Starring Matt Letscher, Carrie Preston, Adam Greer, Veronica Cartwright, Jack Plotnick * Here Films

Someone, someday, is going to make a bang-up movie about what it took to be a major gay or bi Film star like Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, or Anthony Perkins back in the '50s, when walking the line between a private life and a public life was like traversing a minefield. The makers of that flick will know that the '50s weren't only about big-haired camp but also repression, paranoia, misguided patriotism, and the stirrings of political upheaval. Those moviemakers will surely be smart enough to create actual characters and not dredge up recycled caricatures from bad TV shows about the era.

Which brings us to Straight Jacket. Directed and adapted by Richard Day from his play, this frothy farce concerns Guy Stone (Matt Letscher), a vain, fairly dim-witted Eisenhower-era movie god who cultivates a straight image while happily humping any hunk in tight trousers. Caught in a police raid at a gay bar and urged by his vinegary agent (Veronica Cartwright) to butch it up so he won't lose the year's plum movie role--the lead in Ben-Hur--Stone agrees to a quickie marriage to a studio secretary (Carrie Preston) who has bought his public image hook, line, and sinker. Complications ensue when a homophobic competitor (Jack Plotnick--whose character might have been dangerously funny played as a right-wing blowhard, a la Heston, rather than the all-purpose Sitcom 101 jerk we're presented with here) sets out to blow Stone's cover. …

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