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I had never heard of Mr. Haines prior to seeing this, and I'm gay and a movie fanatic, so this was quite interesting. It shows how tiny Hollywood has changed in the last 100 years. In fact, it seems they were more launch and accepting in the 1920's than they are today. A mission they create frequently. Nowadays, the large stars still feel they have to hide in the closet, except today it's for fear of losing their $10 million salaries more than for 'political reasons'. It certainly can't be for fear of being typecast or they gotta be really terrible actors. I've been an actor for over 30 years (no you wouldn't have heard of me), and I have NEVER been cast as gay (much to my own disappointment).Anyway, despite what one another reviewer said, there is absolutely nothing about sex in this brief film. So if you're straight or pretending to be so, you need have no fear.
I had seen this on TV last year, and was so thrilled with it that I tried to purchase the VCR, but at the time there was none available. It took about a entire month to receive the ebook at the library. The ebook named Wisecracker, Out of the Closet, Off the Screen was written by William?____ Mann. It is a gay-themed real life storyline of filmdom's silent movie star William Haines who was very outspoken and gratis in expressing himself, which consequently brought on him many troubles with MGM's Mayer, and they allow him go about 1936. But, as the storyline goes he was very talented in another methods especially in Interior Decorating; fascinating reading of the homes he decorated for the stars beginning with Joan Crawford, who was his mentor. It is a tearjerker of a story.
Edward VII gave up the throne of England for the girl he loved, and William Haines relinquished box office popularity and his movie career for the boy he loved. Produced for the American Film Channel in 2001, "Out of the Closet, Off the Screen" says the storyline of a courageous boy who lived his life on his own terms. With family photographs, clips and stills from his movies, and interviews with his biographer, William J. Mann, and others, directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have fashioned a moving profile of Haines, who is generally considered the first openly gay star in Hollywood. The movie reveals a surprising tolerance for sexual diversity and openness that existed during Hollywood's silent era. However, with the Depression's onset and the imposition of the Hays Code, the freedoms enjoyed by Haines and another gay performers like Ramon Novarro and Charles Farrell came to an end. The ultimatums handed down from Louis B. Mayer and another movie moguls were: "enter into a lavender marriage with a girl or your career is over." Adopted in 1930, Hays Code enforcement began in earnest in 1934, by which time William Haines and his partner, Jimmy Shields, had been together for eight years. While another gay actors who lived openly together buckled under the pressure, separated, and married women, Haines was loyal to the boy he loved and place their relationship above his career. But Haines was not the only one with admirable loyalty; described as a poor mother, but a helluva friend, Joan Crawford stood by Haines, kept him visible in Hollywood society, and championed his second career as an interior designer. Interviews with Christina Crawford, who trashed her adoptive mother in "Mommie Dearest," reveal first-hand knowledge of Crawford's help for Haines."Out of the Closet, Off the Screen" is an perfect and engrossing documentary. Although method too brief, the movie provides an overview of Haines's career and glimpses of his on-screen "wisecracker" persona. His early years in Fresh York and encounters with another future Hollywood stars like Cary Grant are sketched in. Although Jimmy Shields is shown and mentioned, he takes second zone to Haines as he did in life; but then, the documentary is further titled: "The Life of William Haines," and not "Billy and Jimmy." Perhaps other filmmaker will undertake a bio of the couple in the spirit of "Chris & Don, a Love Story," which similar the lives of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy. However, whatever omissions or shortcomings "Out of the Closet, Off the Screen" may have, the movie could raise awareness of an unfairly forgotten Hollywood star and encourage viewers to seek out and relish the movies of William Haines. His darkly handsome looks and tall athletic physique, coupled with a playful campiness, made him a star. Those same attributes could resurrect his popularity, especially to gay audiences who can appreciate steadfast loyalty to one's life friend in the face of hostility and persecution.
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