Thursday, June 21, 2018
A BIT OF SCARLET
Taking its cue from The Celluloid Closet, this documentary looks back at depictions of queer characters in older British movies, with various sections on such subjects as "unrequited love," suicidal characters, and the like. It counts down the rules that gay characters seemed to have to adhere to in the British cinema if they were to appear at all. A Bit of Scarlet takes a while to get going, but eventually it turns into an interesting compilation, consisting primarily of unidentified clips put together in such a way as to create an amusing or thematic juxtaposition. Many of the clips, of course, present faux homosexuality as well as a lot of silly cross-dressing. I recognized clips from such films as Victim, The Family Way, The L-Shaped Room, The Naked Civil Servant, and Staircase, among others, but there's no way to tell what the other films are just because they're all listed at the end. (Flashing the title of each film as the clip is shown would have certainly made sense.) A Bit of Scarlet is entertaining enough, but it's a minor LGBT documentary. Ian McKellen "narrates" the film, but there is actually very little commentary.
Verdict: Okay survey of LGBT images in the British media. **3/4.