The Celluloid Closet (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Celluloid Closet (1996)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Documentary directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, already well-established for bringing gay issues to a mainstream film audience, examined the representation of homosexuality in the film industry itself in this absorbing study. Based on a 1981 book by Vito Russo and narrated by Lily Tomlin, the film states upfront that in one hundred years of cinema history, homosexuality has rarely been acknowledged, and only then for laughs, pity, or fear. As the film continues, it details the prevailing trends in the depiction of gays during each decade, showing how the visibility of homosexuals began to increase and evolve. Interviews with Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Gore Vidal, and Harvey Fierstein, among others, are notable additions to this illuminating and entertaining feature.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Documentary , Television , Gay & Lesbian
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Cast

Lily Tomlin
as Narrator
Joseph Breen
as Interviewee
Susie Bright
as Interviewee
Tony Curtis
as Interviewee
Quentin Crisp
as Interviewee
Richard Dyer
as Interviewee
Harvey Fierstein
as Interviewee
Jay Presson Allen
as Interviewee
Whoopi Goldberg
as Interviewee
Arthur Laurents
as Interviewee
Farley Granger
as Interviewee
Shirley MacLaine
as Interviewee
Jan Oxenberg
as Interviewee
Paul Rudnick
as Interviewee
Mart Crowley
as Interviewee
Antonio Fargas
as Interviewee
Barry Sandler (II)
as Interviewee
Tom Hanks
as Interviewee
Gore Vidal
as Interviewee
Daniel Melnick
as Interviewee
Harry Hamlin
as Interviewee
John Schlesinger
as Interviewee
Susan Sarandon
as Interviewee
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Critic Reviews for The Celluloid Closet

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4)

Makes it clear Hollywood wanted it both ways: It benefitted from the richness that gays added to films, but didn't want to acknowledge their sexuality.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's interesting to see how gay and lesbian themes began to be treated openly in films, but it's fascinating to see how -- earlier -- those themes were used subtextually in films that make no overt reference to the real subject.

January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic

Top-notch entertainment, not only because it's enjoyable, but because it argues its case with an effectiveness that would impress even a top-notch, homophobic attorney.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
ReelViews
Top Critic

How ironic that a movie about the dangers of the closet would so confine one's freedom of interpretation.

Full Review… | August 20, 2009
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Instead of an angry diatribe against Hollywood, the film shrewdly opts for a wity, often campy commentary by gay figures (Gore Vidal), directors (Wyler) and actors (Tom Hanks) who shed light on the context in which these films were made and viewed.

Full Review… | May 31, 2006
EmanuelLevy.Com

It's engrossing, brings a healthy sense of humor to the discussion, and enlightening without being bludgeoning.

Full Review… | April 6, 2006
DVDJournal.com

Audience Reviews for The Celluloid Closet

½

A decent historical reflection, if not somewhat self-indulgent.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

"It's amazing how, if you're a gay audience and you're accustomed to crumbs, how you will watch an entire movie just to see someone wear an outfit that you think means that they are a homosexual. The whole movie may be a dud but you are just sitting there waiting for Joan Crawford to put on her black cowboy shirt again." -Susie Bright An interesting documentary that enabled me to view some of my favorite films from a different perspective.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Great documentary on the history of Gay Film

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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