Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh, now I get it

Half a lifetime ago, when I was 17 and not yet "out of the closet", I started watching a lot of old films from the 1950s. I often find it difficult to connect with "the here and now" and as a teenager, I felt completely culturally isolated by 1980s culture (though I can appreciate it more now, from a distance). The 1950s seemed like a more interesting, romantic place, like another planet (I also read a lot of futuristic science fiction, which was equally an attempt to "escape" the present.)

Anyway, I was rather taken with James Dean, who, with his big dirty blonde quiff, babyish eyes and high cheekbones looked boyishly cute. I had a big quiff too, and when I smiled I would unconsciously make my top lip go thin, just like JD. I knew that there was "something up" in Rebel Without A Cause, but didn't know exactly what it was (it was Sal Mineo and a big gay subtext you dummy!)

Around the same time I also saw Streetcar Named Desire and the Wild Ones with Marlon Brando. But I didn't get him at all. His scowling enormous moon face did nothing for me.

But I've watched a few Brando films again recently, and have to admit that I now see what the point of it all was. James Dean on the other hand, meh! You can have him.


matty said...

oh, I was always a sucker for Sal Mineo.

did you ever see WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR?

Old Cheeser said...

And what about Montgomery Clift? He was quite handsome ...

"Streetcar" is brilliant, heady stuff. Marlon Brando's Stanley is the archetypal piece of rough trade all gay men would like to have but can't get (well, according to some interpretations anyway). He looked rather nice in that tight t-shirt he wore (this was a long time before he turned into a tub of lard). Although I did find his guttural manner of speaking a tad annoying (still, who ever said anything about needing to speak??)

DazPaz said...

Always more of a Monty fan myself - love him in 'A Place in the Sun' drowning Shelley Winters in the lake!