Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video

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9780452276277: Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video

This work documents the influence of gays and lesbians in the film world. Some people know about the artier side of gay cinema or that Rock Hudson was gay, but few people know that gay men directed movies like "Dirty Dancing", "The China Syndrome", or "Marathon Man". This book includes chapters such as Queer, Lesbian, Gay Male, Transgender, Camp, and Honourable and Dishonourable Mentions. It is fully indexed and cross-referenced.

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From Booklist:

Broad-ranging, informative, and entertainingly written, this reference source covers 200 gay, bisexual, and lesbian actors and directors as well as more than 3,000 films and videos with gay themes. The book's scope also extends to such straight people as Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Barbra Streisand who are popular in gay culture. Murray's emphasis is on American and English films, although he does have selective coverage of European and Asian cinema. Films included in the book must be at least 60 minutes in length and have "a gay theme that is relatively evident."

Images in the Dark is organized into nine chapters, the first three of which consist of entries dealing with directors, actors, and writers, artists, dancers, and composers. Each entry summarizes in several paragraphs the person's contributions to film and discusses his or her private life. Following this, the person's films are listed chronologically, noting the year released, running time, and country of origin; each film is also annotated briefly with evaluative comments. The remainder of the book covers films with gay themes. Four chapters are organized by audience: of interest to both gays and lesbians; to gays alone; to lesbians alone; and to "transsexuals, transvestites and drag queens . . . and their fans." The following chapter deals with "cheesy films that feature gay, lesbian or transgendered characters." The last chapter covers "films with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters in secondary or bit roles and/or films which make references to homosexuality." In the chapters focusing on films, entries contain information on year released, running time, country of origin, and director. The annotations for these films are somewhat longer than those for films appearing in the biographical chapters.

Detailed indexes of film titles, directors, personalities, and themes conclude the book. The themes index lists films by ethnic group, country, genre, and such themes as homophobia, cross-dressing, and vampires. Many black-and-white clips of film scenes and photos of directors and stars complement the entries. Readers may question why some stars appear in the book. Lindsay Anderson's inclusion in the directors chapter is a mystery, since there is no mention of his connection to gay themes except a passing reference to one scene in the movie If.

Murray includes both Hollywood and underground films in his book. James Robert Parish's Gays and Lesbians in Mainstream Cinema [RBB Mr 1 94] covers 272 films in greater detail. It has full cast credits and quotes reviews. Facets Gay & Lesbian Video Guide [RBB Mr 1 94] lists documentaries, foreign films, and offbeat films that have homosexuality as the main subject. Libraries owning these two books may find their coverage adequate. But Murray's coverage of persons as well as films makes Images in the Dark a necessary purchase for libraries with major film collections; academic and public libraries should consider purchase, too.

From Library Journal:

Containing information on more than 3000 films, this encyclopedia will become a classic source of information on legitimate (i.e., nonpornographic) gay and lesbian film and video. Listing films from around the world throughout the medium's history, the book documents efforts by individuals who either openly or discreetly produced films with gay or lesbian themes or portrayed gay or lesbian characters, as well as gays and lesbians who portrayed straight characters. For each personality a brief biography is given, usually a photo, and a list of films associated with the individual. There are separate sections for directors, independent filmmakers, actors/actresses, gay icons, writers, artists, dancers, and composers. There are also listings and descriptions of films within the categories "queer" (of interest to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals), "lesbian," "gay," and "transgender" as well as a section on films with camp attraction or content. The film summaries and subject introductions are extremely well written, the book as a whole is well organized and indexed, and the wealth of information is accurate and up to date. For the film and video (all entries note whether the film has been released on video) collector (including AV librarians), this will be an important source of information; for the curious, it will be an eye-opener. Appropriate for all libraries and all readers.?H. Robert Malinowsky, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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