After compiling a list of the most essential LGBT movies, The Advocate is pitting the top 32 entries against one another in a series of one-on-one face-offs. In this round, Gods and Monsters, the stirring love story of gay director James Whale, is up against All About Eve, the much-quoted classic film about scene-stealing ingenues starring Bette Davis. Which film is more essential? Vote below, and check out our full list of the top 175 most essential LGBT movies at Advocate.com/top175.
One of our greatest gay actors, Sir Ian McKellen, plays James Whale, the gay movie director who brought Frankenstein and The Invisible Man to the screen in 1930s Hollywood (and demonstrated his versatility by helming the first film version of Show Boat). While Whale is a real-life figure, Gods and Monsters is a fantasia on his last days, showing him largely forgotten by the film industry and drawn to a young, straight gardener, played by Brendan Fraser. McKellen's performance as this gifted, tragic man is extraordinary and heartbreaking. Bill Condon won an Oscar for his screenplay, adapted from Christopher Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein; McKellen was nominated, but he was robbed. —Trudy Ring
"Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." So says Bette Davis, playing Broadway star Margo Channing, in the film's most famous line, but it's only one of many wonderful witticisms in a movie that practically defines gay sensibility, at least a certain type of it, even though it was written and directed by a straight man, Joe Mankiewicz. There is also the intimation that scheming Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), who wants to supplant Margo as first lady of the American stage, may well be a lesbian, but the greatest pleasure in a film with many is the incomparable and perfectly cast George Sanders as the ultimate bitchy queen, that "venomous fishwife" of a drama critic, Addison DeWitt. Sanders won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, Mankiewicz took home directing and screenplay honors, and the film was named Best Picture of the year. —Trudy Ring
Vote here on Facebook or Twitter by Sunday, June 29, and check in every day for more Clash of The Classics.
— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) June 29, 2014