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For generations, members of the LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood needed to be discreet about their lives but—make no mistake—they were everywhere, both in front of and behind the camera.
On the eve of the twentieth century, in Thomas Edison’s laboratory, one of the earliest attempts at a sound film depicted two men dancing together as a third plays the violin. It’s only a few minutes long, but this cornerstone of early cinema captured a queer moment on film. It would not be the last.
With Hollywood Pride, renowned film critic Alonso Duralde presents a history spanning from the dawn of cinema through the “pansy craze” of the 1930s and the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s, all the way up to today. He showcases the hard-working actors, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, art directors, and choreographers whose achievements defined the American film industry and charts the evolution of LGBTQ+ storytelling itself—the way mainstream Hollywood decided it would portray (or erase) their lives and the narratives created by queer filmmakers who fought to tell those stories themselves.
Along the way, readers will encounter a fascinating cast of characters, such as the first generation of queer actors, including J. Warren Kerrigan, Ramon Novarro, and William Haines. Early cinema pioneers like Alla Nazimova and F. W. Murnau helped shape the new medium of moving pictures. The sex symbols, both male (Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Anthony Perkins) and female (Lizabeth Scott and Greta Garbo), lived under the threat of their private lives undermining their public personas. Underground filmmakers Kenneth Anger and John Waters made huge strides in LGBTQ+ representation with their off–off-Hollywood productions in the 1960s and ’70s. These screen legends paved the way for every openly queer figure in Hollywood today.
Illustrated with more than 175 full-color and black-and-white images, Hollywood Pride points to the bright future of LGBTQ+ representation in cinema by revealing the story of the community’s inclusion and erasure, its visibility and invisibility, and its triumphs and tragedies.
“Cinema is often discussed as an empathy machine because of its power to draw our attention deeply into faces, details, and situations we would otherwise miss. But this only works because of cinema’s less-often discussed power to draw our attention away from other details. As much as it illuminates, cinema also obscures. So much so that queer people, people of color, and of course women are often placed into the position of the outsider, fighting their way into a system not designed for them. Hollywood mythologizes the role of the outsider as something romantic but, in reality as a gay Black filmmaker, I can say it’s more often than not exhausting.
But then someone like Alonso Duralde and his meticulously researched Hollywood Pride comes along to fill in the staggering blanks of the accepted history with a people’s history. Suddenly we realize that in the fight for authentic queer expression within cinema, we are not just outsiders seeking our way into a foreign land, but in fact this is territory we have a right to. As Duralde uncovers for us with characteristic wit and passion, we find that queer people and queer sensibilities were there from cinema’s inception. After all this time, we were not crazy to read into the subtext or to stare into a cavalcade of supposedly heteronormative realities and gendered faces, and instead see something more like ourselves.”
“As another sociopolitical war against LGBTQ+ people, our history, and our culture wages on, Hollywood Pride catalogs the enduring spirit of our community as manifested in film. Alonso Duralde’s offering—comprehensive and digestible, perfect for cinephiles and the everyday moviegoer—is simultaneously a necessary reflection of how far LGBTQ+ representation has come and a reminder of how far it can still go.”
“Hollywood Pride isn’t a recitation of the most important LGBTQ+ films; it is an exploration of the forces that have made film queer. From gay love for straight stories, queer charisma from closeted actors, or ridiculous trends which shifted the performance of gender on film, Alonso Duralde masterfully traces an often-hidden lineage of queer culture on the big screen. His short, poppy essays combine authoritative research, incisive criticism, and dishy gossip to let gay text and subtext shine with the glitter they deserve.”
“With his sharp wit and vast movie knowledge, there’s no one better qualified to tackle this formidable subject than Alonso Duralde. I know this book will be enjoyed and consulted for years to come.”
“This deeply researched, beautifully written, and wildly entertaining volume is bursting with truly unique fresh scholarship—and astutely relevant gossip—on the many queers of Tinsel Town past (and present). Featuring insightful perspectives on the best LGBTQ films of all time, Hollywood Pride is another essential item for your queer cinema bookshelf from the inimitable Alonso Duralde.”
“A smart, swift, extensively researched and often deeply-moving celebration of the movies, actors, writers, directors, composers, designers, and cinematographers that indelibly marked queer cinema and the wider culture during each successive era—for better or worse. What Duralde has accomplished here is, especially during our dark and reactionary times, vitally important.”
“Eclectic and smart, irreverent and daring, Hollywood Pride stitches together a magnificent history of LGBTQ+ films, one by one, through the decades, their contexts unpacked and brilliance manifested. With original takes on a rich and contested history that actually goes well beyond Hollywood, written as only Alonso Duralde can, this book will convince readers to dive headlong into the turbulent waters of LGBTQ+ film history, its heroes, heroines, and villains, coming up only (maybe) for air.”
“Alonso Duralde has written and assembled a gorgeous and expansive volume that captures over a century of LGBTQ+ cinema with all the nuance and detail it deserves. From blockbuster films to the rich worlds of underground and experimental cinema, Duralde pays homage to the icons, creators, and visionaries—some lost to history—who captured the full spectrum of our queer imaginaries. Cinephiles from all walks of life will need and want this beautiful book, and students at all levels, along with teachers and scholars, will benefit from having such a luminous compendium of LGBTQ+ culture available to them.”
“A beautiful object, written with panache.”
- On Sale
- May 14, 2024
- Page Count
- 336 pages
- Running Press