Sunday, September 17, 2023



Yeah, I just gotta start this off mentioning the this film the gayest or what? From the fru-fru art deco set to the half-naked effeminate actors with pasties on their bullseyes not forgetting all of the muscular black men who show off a good portion of partially bared cheeks, you kinda wonder whether you're watching a Biblical drama or a Kenneth Anger wet dream. But homo orientation aside well, I gotta say that I was kind of "drawn" into it.

Some call SALOME the first art film ever made but I believe there have been a few avgarde efforts cranked out earlier even if most seemed more concerned with geometric designs and wobbly camerawork. Anyhoo, the story and production kept me glued to the screen, perhaps because the frilly film snob angle wasn't that much of an irritation during those early cinematic days and I don't have to suffer from snobdom by association.

But eh, if you are the kind of person who goes for Art Gnuveau convolutedness maybe you too would enjoy this arthouse extravaganza birthed from the mind of a soon to be locked up Oscar Wilde with sets based on Aubrey Beardsley's very own designs for the original stage presentation. If that ain't loafer light enough for you I don't know what is!

Nazimova naturally chews up the screen with her roaring twenties looks and halfway decent attempts to portray a girl way younger than her fortyish features (distance shots do help somewhat). The over-emotive acting not only from the star but the supporting cast (Nigel De Brulie as the scrawniest John the Baptist [or Jokaanan as he's called here] I've ever seen to those two patented gay porn studs who quiver in fear at the mere thought of Salome gazing upon them) actually do lend a certain campiness to the film, but it at least helps give SALOME a dream-like air and lends a tad bit of dareIsay nobility to the proceedings. 

The plot might seem somewhat twisto-changeo, but the tints and scenery. along with the over-emotive acting, only adds to the overall (now hold on) awe. Of course we all know of the Biblical account (or so I assume) but for the life of me, (spoiler alert as they say) I wonder why Herod ordered Salome's execution after she has Jokaanan beheaded and then falls in love with his bean and regrets her wish? (After all, she "kills the things she loves, loves the things she kills" as the title card says.) Seems rather strange behavior for a movie filled with a load of confusing zigzags, but in many ways I gotta say that the bitch had it comin'. Since I am not whatcha'd call a Biblical scholar maybe someone out there can give a hint!

Watching this I get the same sense of experiencing something that seems somewhat noble and perhaps even holy, the same feeling I got seeing other early cinematic excursions from THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC to even the DW Griffith swansong for Biograph, JUDITH OF BETHULIA.  Even some equally renown if even more experimental film efforts such as LOT IN SODOM (I read that the two flicks were double billed in NYC way back when and I couldn't think of a better pairing!) as well as some perhaps unlikely efforts such as INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME and RABBIT'S MOON if only for the settings, costumes and ethereal nature which really brings back the mid-teen awe I had for movies at a time when I began to pay attention.

So yeah, if you're a fan of the silent era and want to glom something that might be somewhat different from the usual revival house Chaplin/Keaton fare you might wanna give this legendary film (so legendary that I thought I'd better check it out before I clocked out into eternity) a try. Well, for being as lavender as they come it sure makes for a good change from most all of the in-your-face (and at times in more ways than one!) gay propaganda that's been shoved down our gullets these past thirtysome years.

One interesting aside that I think I should mention if only to give you even more chuckles outta this review and that is well, you know those Gold Dust Twins lookalikes with the piled up wighats and big-pocketed diapers who sporadically appear throughout the film? Well, at the tail end of the film the two can be briefly seen throwing jewels from their pockets at each other for reasons that totally escape me other'n to perhaps signify the folly of riches (I mean, can you think of anything better?). Actually when I first saw the film (and given that the quality ain't exactly state of the art) I thought they were digging into their diapers and throwing feces at each other which certainly gave me the impression that this moom pitcher was being arty way ahead of its time! Of course I'm wondering what the symbolism of THAT rather disgusting act would have been all about but eh, if they were throwing number two all I gotta say is this film just hadda have been the gayest!

And if you'd really like to give SALOME a good eyeballing, I slapped the film directly at the end of this post for your benefit. Turn your own fart-encrusted bedroom into an arty theatre happy in the knowledge that there won't be any guy sitting next to you putting his hand on your knee.


Patti Smith said...

It's official.

You're "gay."

Rachel Haywired said...

If Chrissie is "gay" there's nothing wrong with that.

Christopher Stigliano said...

You two can go get f***ed up the a** as far as I care.

Joan Jetski said...

Cool your jets, Faggotliano!

Anne Fink said...

Could use some good lezzie action.