The Loved One in Gay Hollywood; D&F in the Antipodes

The Intro and “Outro” discussions of the film version of The Loved One from the recent broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies cable channel have been posted on YouTube. Appearing are Dave Karger from TCM and writer William J Mann. The film was presented on TCM as part of its Gay Hollywood series. The two speakers first note the unusually large number of homosexuals involved in the production which they describe as a “nonstop parade of fairies” and wonder rhetorically whether there was anyone involved who wasn’t gay. They then focus on the outstanding performance of John Gielgud as Sir Francis Hinsley and recall the scandal in the early 1950s when he was rumbled while cottaging in London. In the discussion following the film, they analyse the performance of Rod Steiger (one of the few participants not known to be gay) as Mr Joyboy who is portrayed as a “flaming fairy”. They do not mention that the character in the book does not come across as so flamboyantly gay.

Another Waugh adaptation is now available in New Zealand. This is the BBC’s 3-part TV series version of Decline and Fall. According to Sam Brooks writing on the NZ entertainment website The Spinoff, the best thing about the overall praiseworthy series is Eva Longoria’s portrayal of Margot Beste-Chetwynde:

She takes a while to appear (about half an hour and eight seconds into the first episode, by my incredibly scientific measure) but once she does she’s a breath of fresh air. … Longoria is the clear highlight of the series, which is mostly populated with a menagerie of British actors who you’ve definitely seen in something – probably Harry Potter – but can’t quite remember their names or who they’ve played. She plays Margot with an affable amorality (but I am sad to report no silly accent) that is intentionally jarring in this context.

Margot is at odds with the world around her, and Longoria does this with a one-foot-in-one-foot-out approach; there’s no way she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but the appearance that she doesn’t is enough to sell it. Also, the same knack she had for a one-liner in Desperate Housewives helps her here. There’s a scene where she has to audition some performers that ranks among the best of her career, and it’s where her spikiness feels liveliest against the relative softness of the other performers.

 

 

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