The 1965 film adaptation of The Loved One will be presented next week at an event in New York City. The presenter is musician Fred Schneider, singer with a group called The B-52s. As described in The Asbury (NJ) Press:
…The film’s pitch-black humor is an antecedent to the iconic work from the likes of the Coen Brothers and John Waters.”I love that kind of humor,” Schneider said. “The Loved One” is part of the Queer|Art|Film fall season of screenings from Queer|Art, which works to support the professional and creative development of LGBTQ+ artists in New York City.
Schneider, who will be on hand to discuss the film, said its picture of mid-’60 America resonated with memories of his own youth. Take the scene where James Coburn, as an airport immigration officer, is suspicious of Morse’s shaggy-for-the-time “Beatle haircut. My father was angry that I came back from college with slightly long hair,” Schneider recounted. “And he told me, ‘Get a haircut’ or whatever, and I said, ‘I’m going back to Georgia.’ ” (It was in Athens, Georgia, that Schneider then co-founded The B-52’s in 1976.) […]
“Even Rod Steiger has such a gay overtone to his character, and I thought maybe John Waters had seen ‘The Loved One’ because she’s like falling out of the bed, eating a turkey,” Schneider said. “And well, hello, Liberace’s in it. And they have the Damon and Pythias section of the cemetery for those who want to be buried together. I just think people will just love it, especially the people who belong to the IFC.”
Much of “The Loved One” is communicated via wink-nudge implication, and seen today it’s a testament to just how far LGBTQ representation in media has come in the 56 years since its release.”They pushed whatever they could to the limit, whatever was allowable,” Schneider said. “Apparently people walked out from MGM before it was even over, but they still put it out. I don’t think it did that well, but I watched it with a friend and we were just howling. … They made just the most outrageous stuff seem normal.”
Here are the details:
“The Loved One,” presented by Fred Schneider as part of the Queer|Art|Film fall season curated by Adam Baran and Heather Lynn Johnson, 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the IFC Center, 323 6th Ave., New York, $17, $14 for children and seniors, ifccenter.com/films/the-loved-one.
In Los Angeles the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale has also opened an exhibit that will be of interest to Waugh readers. According to a Los Angeles County Museum weblog:
Forest Lawn has been a subject for modern literature, film, and photography, from Evelyn Waugh to Garry Winogrand. You won’t find that in the current exhibition of the Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale, but you will encounter a parallel and no-less-unlikely tale. “Unveiling the Past: The Art & History of Forest Lawn” surveys the cemetery chain’s architectural, corporate, and art history. Some of the most compelling objects here are documentary photographs of Forest Lawn signage. The makers are uncredited, but the best images work as found Walker Evanses. Forest Lawn has often served as an advertisement for itself. Its campus hilltop once had its own “Hollywood Sign,” the words FOREST LAWN spelled out in 10-foot-high neon letters.
When a commissioned marble copy of Michelangelo’s Moses arrived from Florence in 1926, it was trucked to Forest Lawn in moving billboards. The management was apparently not over-concerned that yokels might confuse it for Michelangelo’s original. Stunts like this must have helped Forest Lawn (and Los Angeles) earn their place in the Grove Dictionary of Art. Look up “kitsch” and you’re told that “objects that adapt high art images from one medium to another are paradigmatically kitsch, for instance plastic or fibreglass sculptural renderings of Dürer’s Study of Praying Hands, Leonardo’s Last Supper (1495–7; Milan, S Maria della Grazie) executed in tapestry, or stained glass, such as that at the Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Los Angeles…”
Forest Lawn’s mid-century billboards were hand-painted pop ephemera, replaced frequently for maximum impact. They grapple unintentionally with the paradoxes of love, death, art, money, faith—and Los Angeles.
See this link for photos of several of the billboards that are on display.