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

One Kiss Leads ... to Another

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

One Kiss Leads ... to Another

Article excerpt


FOR ALL THE ADVANCES that have been made in presenting gay and lesbian images in mainstream cinema, there aren't a lot of queer smooches that stick in our collective memory. But as long as queer kisses make some audiences swoon while others go e-e-ew every silver-screen smooch counts. Whether you go rent all these movies or take a second look at The Celluloid Closet (a.k.a. That's Homotainment!), here are ten kisses that shook our world.

Morocco (1930)--Before the Production Code came along and swept the homos under the rug (and into the closet) filmmakers were allowed to be a little polymorphously perverse when the mood struck. In this pulpy romance bodacious nightclub chanteuse Marlene Dietrich dons a tuxedo and puckers up with a young lady. Sure, she's doing it to turn on hunky Gary Cooper, but there's no denying the sparks between the gals.

The Killing of Sister George (1968)--Viperish BBC executive Mercy Croft (Coral Browne) puts the moves on Childie (Susannah York), the girlfriend of dykey soap actress June Buckridge (Beryl Reid), in a sequence steamy enough to be cut by censors in various New England states in 1968. Just two minutes long, this love scene went beyond anything mainstream audiences had seen before.

The Sergeant (1968)--Back in the days when it was permissible to show gay characters only if they offed themselves at the end of the movie, we got closeted Army guy Rod Steiger feverishly planting one on a repulsed John Phillip Law. The film ends with Law blithely watching Steiger go off into the woods with a shotgun, never to return. Don't ask, don't tell--don't watch.

Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)--Director John Schlesinger wisely avoided making a big deal out of Peter Finch's clinch with Murray Head in this love triangle between a gay doctor (Finch), a straight employment counselor (Glenda Jackson), and the bisexual artist (Head) they both love. It's straightforward and sexy without any dramatic buildup or any cues to the audience that they are seeing something shocking or unusual.

Deathtrap (1982)--Not until The Crying Game would a gay plot twist take audiences so much by surprise, especially since it was Superman stud Christopher Reeve sucking face with Michael Caine. …

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