SCREENING THE SEXES: Homosexuality in the Movies by Parker Tyler

SCREENING THE SEXES: Homosexuality in the Movies

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tyler, veteran film critic, sets out here to ""unlimit"" sex from the organic male and female: ""I have logically assumed that the basic genders are irrelevant."" With this credo of ""erotic liberalism"" for openers he moves to a bubbly, hijinx survey of contemporary films -- the erotic fantasies of the real world -- locating, so to speak, a homo under every bed. Bedroom kicks and kinks: Charley's Aunt, drag queens, Mother Superiors, transvestites, suave sapphos, male and female Dorian Grays, tantes, blue sexists, unisexers, and Baby Budds are only some of the permutations in Satyricon, The Boys in the Band, M*A*S*H, The Damned, Midnight Cowboy and many more you never suspected. Like flower petals, no two are alike, which is very groovy since ""sex empirically is an infinitely variable spectrum"" without those false polarities of penis and vagina to cloud the issue. Invoking as his guide the great god Homeros (brother of Eros), Tyler doesn't limit himself to the movies -- Oscar Wilde, off-stage and on, Genet, de Sade and Proust, et al. also receive a once-over as the spirit moves him. Ingenious and inventive, his gay-life excursions are marred by occasional ominous but hazy pronunciamentos -- e.g., ""something very rudimentary is held in common by modern dictatorships and modern anti-homosexual psychiatrists."" Unlike Modern Screen (""one of its chief functions is to keep the heterosexual fires burning in the homes""), Tyler is out to ignite the homo sparks in everyone because apparently they're more fun and less dangerous -- ""homosexuality is the cure, not the cause of potential or accomplished crime."" All of which is quite funny in a draggy sort of way.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 1971
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston