Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Matt Damon and Michael Douglas
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (2013 telefilm). Director: Steven Soderbergh.

There seems to be no way around the fact that popular entertainer Liberace (Michael Douglas) was a big, flamboyant, outrageous gay stereotype, and this telefilm makes no attempt to get around it. It is also based on the book by Liberace's [ex] lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), so really has to be taken with a grain of salt. Thorson appears to be a type of [supposedly bisexual] hustler who moves in on Liberace even as Liberace moves in on him -- and suggests he move in with him. The movie suggests that the promiscuous entertainer eventually wanted to replace Thorson with a younger model, making him little different from a lot of straight guys. The one thing the telefilm has going for it is the acting, with Douglas [The China Syndrome] giving an outstanding performance that almost makes Liberace likable, and Matt Damon [The Departed] is not far behind him. Rob Lowe is also quite good as the shady "feelgood" Dr. Startz. Dan Ackroyd and Cheyenne Jackson [The Most Happy Fella] also have significant roles, and Debbie Reynolds is fine as Liberace's mother. Soderbergh also directed Douglas in Traffic.

Verdict: It's well-acted and certainly holds your attention, even if it often comes off like a gay dirty joke. ***.


angelman66 said...

I was really impressed with this adaptation of Scott Thorson's memoir--a book I read obsessively over and over in the days before we had any famous gay role models. And Scott was cute in his chauffeur's uniform, and was BFFs with Michael Jackson. I think both Damon and Douglas did a marvelous job...and WOW just to see Matt in a white speedo....worth a full year's subscription to HBO!

William said...

Well, I think you like Damon more than I do, but to each his own taste, LOL. Anyway, the movie was really well-acted and entertaining.

I'll have to look up the book sometime although I think I probably did read it when it came out.