I have no qualms about gay cinema, having seen some classics of that genre including Frank Ribbloh’s Taxi zum Klo (1981), Fassbinders Querelle (1982) and the Australian movie Head On (1998) but what I do have a problem with is watching two extremely well known heterosexual actors acting out a guy scenario. The actors in question are Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. The film is Steven Soderbergh reputed last directorial outing Behind The Candelabra (2013). It’s an American drama film about the last ten years in the life of the pianist and vocalist known as Liberace (Douglas). His career spanned some forty years and included concert appearances, recordings, films and a TV series. During a period between the 1950’s and the 1970’s he became the highest paid entertainer in the world. He was also well known for flamboyant excesses. The movie is based on a book entitled Behind the Candelabra: My life with Liberace released in 1988 and written by Scott Thorson (Damon) who was the pianists chauffeur and lover who sued him for palimony. Although Liberace died of an AIDs related illness in 1987 he always denied being gay.
One is forced by this semi biopic to question how his giant fan base missed the fact that their idol was a gay performer? If the film is to be believed, and there’s no reason to doubt it, it was pretty obvious, perhaps the prejudice of that period excluded people thinking that such a big star could not possible desire the opposite sex, coupled with his many rumoured lesions with different woman. But don’t get me wrong this is a fascinating and well-acted movie that will certainly entertain you if you can ignore the fact that two of the world’s most famous straight actors are up on the screen having simulated sex!