recommended

The 3,000 entries in Raymond Murray's brilliant Images in the Dark explore all aspects of GLBT Cinema, both in front of and behind the camera. Although published in 1996, this book remains indispensable.

 

Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969, by novelist and critic William J. Mann, is one of the most revealing, and fascinating, books about Hollywood's decidedly lavendar "Golden Age."

 

GLBT Literature: Fiction & Film

PLEASE NOTE that, due to availability, the paired book/film covers link to a variety of different resources, including selected author materials, Amazon.com critiques, reviews, and more. Recent browsers will display this information as you hold your cursor over each image.

Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain
Desert of the Heart Desert Hearts
The Haunting of Hill House The Haunting (Robert Wise / 1963)
Importance of Being Earnest Importance of Being Earnest
Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex

Introduction

Welcome! There are many connections between GLBT writing and cinema, not to mention an extraordinary diversity of works, from comedies to verse tragedies, musicals to thrillers.

Seeing an author's vision brought to life on the screen, with inspired direction and acting, can be a rewarding experience, not only in itself but also for the qualities it reveals about the original book or play.

Michael Cunningham, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, which was adapted into an award-winning picture, offers some unique insights into this process:

The HoursAs I watched the women do their work [in the film version of The Hours], and when I saw the finished movie, I understood that what you lose in turning fiction into film – the ability to enter your characters' minds, and to scan their pasts for keys to their futures – can be compensated for by actors. You lose interiority. You gain [actress Meryl] Streep's ability to separate an egg with a furious precision that communicates more about [her character] Clarissa's history and present state of mind than several pages of prose might do....

The HoursActors, too, if they're this good, can introduce details you can't convey on paper, if only because by writing them down you'd render them too obvious. Actors have the incidental at their disposal.

Ms. Streep's Clarissa is stunningly complex, in part because she creates a whole person out of movements, expressions and inflections. When she says to Louis ([actor Jeff] Daniels), an old friend who's dropped in unexpectedly, "But I never see you," the line has a sing-song quality. It rises steadily to the word "see," then drops to the "you." It is offhand and girlish, venomous, haggard. And when she finally begins to lose her desperate composure there's a moment – a half-moment, you miss it if you blink – when she literally loses her balance, tips over to the left, and immediately rights herself. If there's a way to do things like that on paper, I haven't found it.....

On another level, it's fascinating to see how a gifted filmmaker can transform an author's textual vision into cinematic style: image, sound, and movement. One example is Orson Welles's shattering film of Shakespeare's Othello. Although Welles cuts three-fourths of the dialogue, he retains almost every scene as he transforms Shakespeare's tortured yet lyrical tragedy into purely cinematic terms.

My Jim's Film Website offers many resources, including several for GLBT Cinema: outstanding GLBT films, GLBT directors, a film of the month, a reading list, and more.

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Angels in AmericaAngels in AmericaRecommended Book & Film Programs

All but one or two of the authors on this list are GLBT-identified; many but not all of the filmmakers are GLBT. Titles are followed by the author (the text is a novel unless otherwise noted) and filmmaker. In a few instances, the picture is thematically related to the book, rather than being a [ahem!] straight adaptation.

check mark Programs done by the GLBT Fiction & Film Group.

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GLBT Fiction & Film Group (with tips for starting your own)

One way to enjoy GLBT fiction and film comparisons is with friends. The original GLBT Fiction & Film Group was based in New York City, but you can easily set one up yourself. People read a selected book in advance, then at a host's home watch the related film, discuss both works, and share a friendly potluck meal. There is no admission charge; each person's contribution is the food or beverage item they bring to share with the group. Good friends, good fiction, good film – good time!

Here are a few programs from the NYC group:

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