Monday, December 21, 2009

Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992)

Taylor: What the hell is this?

Rock Hudson's Home Movies is a "documentary" by Mark Rappaport, showing the many double entendres in Hudson's film career that show the world that he was telling us he was gay all along, that apparently, Hollywood was in on the joke. The film makes some pretty compelling, if not hamfisted, arguments for the case, but many of the scenes shown are taken out of context (we have no way of knowing what is going on before or after the scene) and as a result, the director's point of view loses traction. There is a clear agenda here, one that, quite frankly, I'm not sure why we needed to witness. We all know now that Hudson was gay and died of an AIDS related illness in 1985. What's the point of spending three minutes of a 63 minute documentary talking about a lingering glance that Tony Randall gives a shirtless Hudson in one of their Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedies.

And then there is the film quality. This documentary is clearly made before the digital age, with many of the film clips used looking like they are taken from VHS tapes. Between the constant hissing in the background, and the distortion of the video tape from clip to clip, the quality of the movie looks like it was made with a couple of VCRs hooked up to a television. And the "narrator" green-screens himself into various scenes, sometimes talking as a narrator, and sometimes talking as Hudson himself, after his death. There is even "comedic" commentary to some of the dialogue, a la It Came From Hollywood that just comes off as obvious and patronizing.

Rock Hudson's Home Movies is one of those films that you know played the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Circuit back in the early 90's and was probably "cutting" edge for it's time, but now seems very dated and condescending to a GLBT community who is a little more savvy about making documentaries about our history.

Rock Hudson's Home Movies gets 1 pug