Monday, April 07, 2008

Now listen you queeah

Buckley was right. Gore Vidal was as nasty little queer and pornographer.

Imagine what kind of man would try to soil a film like Ben Hur.

In interviews for the 1986 book Celluloid Closet, and later the 1995 documentary of the same name, screenwriter Gore Vidal asserts that he persuaded director Wyler to allow a carefully veiled homoerotic subtext between Messala and Ben-Hur. Vidal says his aim was to explain Messala's extreme reaction to Ben-Hur's refusal to name fellow Jews. Surely, Vidal argued, Messala should have been able to understand that Ben-Hur, his close friend since childhood, would not be willing to name the names of his fellow Jews to a Roman officer. Vidal suggested a motivation to Wyler: Messala and Ben-Hur had been homosexual lovers while growing up, and then separated for a few years while Messala was in Rome. When Messala returns to Judea, he wants to renew the relationship with Ben-Hur, but Ben-Hur is no longer interested. It is the anger of a scorned lover which motivates Messala's vindictiveness toward Ben-Hur. Since the Hollywood production code would not permit this to appear on screen explicitly, it would have to be implied by the actors. Vidal suggested to Wyler that he would direct Stephen Boyd to play the role that way, but not tell Heston.

What a cur.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't we just ship them all to some island somewhere far away?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Now now William, you can be arrested for that sort of thing these days.