Monday, November 5, 2007

A Place in the Sun (1951)

We flipped to this after Heroes didn't was already about halfway through. Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor - famous for being young, beautiful, famous and...just friends.

Rose McGowen was guest programming with Robert Osbourne (and looking great doing so). Robert talked about how there is chemistry between Taylor and Clift here but not in their later films together - he thought because later they were too close as friends to have chemistry.

Hmm, Robert, I don't know, do you think that could be because Clift was showing the unabashed admiration, flattery and tender attention that only a gay man (not risking any real rejection) can lavish on a woman? And, not knowing he was gay (yet), Taylor was very naturally responding warmly to this attention and showing him that sensual and openly affectionate side that unreserved adoration from a beautiful man can bring out in a woman? Making beautiful screen chemistry. And they do have chemistry but - it's all in Taylor's eyes! She does have beautiful eyes.

And legs.

That must have been hard for Liz - being best buddies with the most beautiful young gay man in the world. I guess River Phoenix was my generation's Montgomery Clift. Why is it that famous young lesbians run around Hollywood racking up DUIs and indulging in dangerous fashion combinations while famous young gay boys run around Hollywood racking up scandals and indulging in dangerous drug combinations?

I guess it's still harder to be a macho gay man that it is to be a come-hither lesbian. Or you could be a macho-lesbian a la Jodie Foster...but I digress.

The movie's about a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who falls in love with a girl from the right side of the tracks but - oops - he's knocked up his old girlfriend already. So he 'finds a way to get rid of her' as Tivo euphemistically puts it.

This movie has a doomed, guilty mood to it - a real melancholy, dark feel.

You can see how Montgomery Clift fed this role deeply from his own life - his passion and his guilt all mixed up to make a kind of exquisite private torture for him. I wonder if having a tragic life counts as acting? Anyhow. Like James Dean and Brando I'm sure he's really good and everything, but I just can't pretend I enjoy watching his performance. He's tortured, we get it, can we cut to the chase?

Coming in halfway through, we weren't sure if he was really guilty or just guilty of wanting her dead.

Do you think she thinks he's innocent? I asked Kim.
Yeah, she said.
Do you think he is innocent, I asked.
I don't know, Kim said, I'm kind of iffy.
We decided we thought he was guilty.

Two stars, for Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor's legs. Will not watch again.


Cheryl said...

Have you ever read Letters to Montgomery Clift by Noel Alumit? It's a novel about a young gay Filipino boy in L.A. who idolizes Clift to the extent that the actor's ghost sort of guides him through a chaotic adolescence. Four stars for the book! (I think you may have met Noel at my birthday party. Many stars for Noel!)

Ms. Q said...

Definitely up my alley...and sounds much better than that Touch of Pink movie that keeps playing on Logo - you know the one where Cary Grant guides the main character through all his trials in life?
Did you know that Monty Got a Raw Deal by REM is about MC, too?
He's a real legend!
And you know what, I bet that makes him happy, wherever he is.
He must be much happier dead than he was alive, since by now he must have figured out that God doesn't hate gay people.

Jessica said...

"Everybody say what's he like?
Everybody say is he alright?
Everybody say he sure look funny.
That's Montgomery Clift, honey!"
-The Clash "The Right Profile"

Ms. Q said...

Oh I bet those Clash lyrics are referring to his tragic car crash when he supposedly ruined his looks. Sad sad sad life. Worse than Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote combined, if you ask me. Maybe on par with Marilyn Munroe?