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, Maurice, the British class romance based on the novel by E.M. Forster, is up against The Celluloid Clost, the eye-opening 1995 documentary about LGBT presence throughout cinema history. 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.
Maurice, 1987 (Seed 14)
Based on E.M. Forster's long-suppressed novel of gay love, the film stars James Wilby, Rupert Graves, and Hugh Grant all at their most adorable. Forster's novel, written in 1914, was published in 1971, after his death, as Forster knew there was controversy in giving the lovers a happy ending. The novel allowed a new openness in literature and biography. The film was the satisfying second shoe to drop. Gay people who had never seen dreamy romantic images of same-sex couples on the big screen swooned over the beautifully art-directed affair between the well-born Maurice and the laborer Scudder. They also swooned at Rupert Graves's callipygian assets. --C.H.
The Celluloid Closet, 1995 (Seed 19)
This film provides an in-depth look at the history of LGBT people in North American cinema and the attitudes behind these portrayals. One of the most talked-about revelations from the documentary was that Gore Vidal had infused a gay subtext into the screeplay for the epic 1959 film Ben-Hur -- a notion that had Vidal and star Charlton Heston in a notoriously public war of words. Based on the book by Vito Russo, the documentary enhanced the foundation of queer film theory and has become a staple in the curriculum of LGBT studies courses at universities around the world. --Jase Peeples
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