Historical Lesbian Content / Hollywood Treatment of Lesbians / Overt and Covert Lesbian Storylines

1961, The Heaviest Year in Lesbian Cinema

I love talking about lesbian films; now I like to say “content” because there are so many voices across so many mediums. And since I am stalling due to writer’s block on one of my own projects it is a perfect time to try to blow through lesbian films of the way past.

Let’s face it. Lesbian entertainment was once taboo and really only written in the subtext. And if the character in the story is actually a lesbian, they tended to face the same end as this next film.

1-THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (1961) DIR. WILLIAM WYLER STARRING AUDREY HEPBURN, SHIRLEY MACLAINE

childrenshour

This one depressed me so much I only watched it once. I think it was for some feminist college course in my super helpful feminist education I gained through my one year of college in Kentucky…I don’t recommend being gay in Kentucky. AND I also don’t recommend being gay in this film. There are no women wearing slacks so you’ll have to watch it to find out who’s the lezzie. I’m imagining teachers in the 60s playing this film for their students just before shipping a few girls off to conversion camp.

I posted this and then thought about it. I really need to mention the importance of this film bringing the lesbian circumstance to life. Being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered person can be incredibly difficult. This film really brings to light how it was to be totally trapped. I find myself feeling so fortunate to have the family I have, the support I have, and living in Los Angeles doesn’t hurt either. This film is incredibly uncomfortable as it speaks to those out there who aren’t as fortunate in their journey of acceptance.

Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MaClaine are two teachers at a girl’s school. They start getting made fun of for being lesbians together and surprise! one of them is and turmoil ensues.

I can’t finish up the 60s without bringing up

2-PERSONA (1966) DIR. INGMAR BERGMAN STARRING BIBI ANDERSSON, LIV ULLMANN

persona

I am not a Bergman fan. But hey, this movie exists and some people love it.

Persona VOD

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