Audrey Hepburn + gay = The Children's Hour
Howdy, i noticed you all had a movie section here at qt3 which i had never heretofore took advantage of... until now ^^.
I had written a 'short' 4 page review the other night but thankfully the PAGE EXPIRED gods saved me from humilating ramble, so ill try to be uncharateristically concise.
I had never heard of this before and only encountered it channel surfing around midnight on one of the Turner stations. I don't know how interesting it would be to anyone nowadays other than feminist or gay film historians since its prudishness and stereotypical ending really don't speak to anyone much anymore, sort of like the 'controversial' Midnight Cowboy its probably been relegated to freshmen film school seminars. However, it does have a)Audrey b) cute Shirley Maclaine ( i never knew she was even half attractive), c) Maclaine telling Audrey that she loves her. But no, unfortunately, there is no hot girl on girl in the hottub like every espisode of every cheezy dating show running now, not even a little kiss. What threw me however were some of the concluding scenes which seemed way more modern and forbidden than even the repressed lesbianism, and so ive kind of obsessed about this movie for awhile.
Long story short; Audrey and Maclaine's characters run a girls school. The Bad Seed's twin sister takes revenge upon them after being constantly repremanded for misbehavior by accusing them of being lesbian to her grandmother. The dreaded "L" word is never mentioned and all talk about it muted and filmed distantly, of course. So ostensibly, and for most of the movie, this is a typical broadway-to-film morality play about society, lies and power. Their life falls apart, the school closes, and only Audrey's fiance sticks around. Then Maclaine admits that she loves Audrey, which is really a strange turn because although there was heavy foreshadowing it totally screws the plot. Sort of like, imagine, Hamlet admitting in his final scene to really being in love with his mother, sure it could work but what the play is about then suddenly changes.
What freaks me amongst other things is how Audrey dumps James Garner (playing her fiance) in the end, who had stuck up with her to the loss of his professional career, simply because he admits beleiving the rumors to be true, and where she rambles something about "things not being the same". OK fine; -except-, he had not just asked but insisted in a previous scene on Maclaine's char coming with them, and the whole time believing they were involved. This is never, at all, hinted at even remotely, but its there. I know there used to be lots of 'hidden' msgs and deviant social behavior quitely tucked away in these old b/w films and i guess its kind of cool to find one. Waldo!
Amongts other notable things is that Maclaine's character is treated with relative dignity (although only subtely), and that while doing there best to at every turn distance Hepburn the Actress from any taint-by-association (many scenes seemed more concered with her image than the plot, but ths is imo), there is a rather compelling alternate interpretation of the final scenes in which Hepburn chooses to be with Maclaine, although its sort of despite the movie itself. And supposedly it has a very modern and heart aching 'coming out' scene, which is cool insofar as the idea of coming out wasn't popularized.
Anyway, kind of cool if you like forbidden movies about sexual repression or whatever, or just obsessing about Audrey and Maclaine together -_-.