Queers and our allies have been recognizing the significance of LGBT cinematic history for as long as we could recognize any small bit of it on film. 1995’s documentary The Celluloid Closetoutwardly celebrated our rich cinematic history from The Children’s Hour (1961) and Morocco (1930) to The Crying Game (1992) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). But even that Sony picture was a relatively small underground venture.
Despite the existence of gays, lesbians, and others who defied norms of gender and sexuality there has never been a gay-themed film DVD collection from a major motion picture studio. But this June, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM Home Entertainment will release the Cinema Pride Collection. Available exclusively through Amazon.com, the compendium includes 10 films spanning 40 years that we can now call LGBTQ classics. It’s a fascinating combination of comedy and drama. While some selections are exhilarating while others are puzzling.
One of the first films to deal directly with the subject of lesbian affection, The Children’s Hour, stars Shirley MacLaine as Martha Dobie and Audrey Hepburn as Karen Wright, two young women who run an all girls school. When a student accuses them, quite possibly correctly, of an “inappropriate” relationship things end predictably badly in this early exploration of homosexuality on film.
1999’s Boys Don’t Cry is equally groundbreaking. The first major motion picture to feature a transgendered person, this true story of Brandon Teena, and female to male transsexual who was brutally raped and murdered in Nebraska in 1993. Best actess Oscar winner Hilary Swank portrays the young man brilliantly in this incredibly sad, but incredibly amazing story.
For a lighter time, both The Birdcage as well as its French predecessor La Cage Aux Folles bring humor to homophobia. Both movies follow the story of a drag club owning gay couple whose son is marrying into a conservative family. When they attempt to “straighten up” their surroundings gender breaks down and hilarity ensues.
Less, exciting, perhaps, is the unfortunate choice of Kissing Jessica Stein and Imagine Me and You. Both films follow feminine, previously straight women as they embark on the adventure of lesbianism. At once prurient and fairly heteronormative, these films, nonetheless, go to show that LGBT topics are, however slowly, becoming significant parts of mainstream culture.
Here are the of the discs of lesbian interest:
Disc 1: The Children´s Hour — feature film and original theatrical trailer.
Disc 8: Boys Don´t Cry — feature film, commentary by director Kimberly Peirce, TV spots, featurettes, original theatrical trailer and theatrical teaser.
Disc 9: Kissing Jessica Stein — feature film, commentary by director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, cinematographer Laurence Sher, and writers Heather Juergensen and Jennifer Westfeldt, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurette and theatrical trailer
Disc 10: Imagine Me and You — full screen feature film, commentary by director/writer Ol Parker, deleted and extended scenes, director’s statement, Q & A with director and cast
Will you be buying this collection, come June?