Saturday, July 02, 2011

straight-washing the emperor

Although copious evidence exists to confirm the homosexuality of Puyi, final ruler of the Qing, the creative heterosexual love scenes in the acclaimed film The Last Emperor have created a lasting impression in both Asia and the West that Puyi zestfully took advantage of his female concubines.

What? Hollywood rewrote history to conform to popular tastes?

You know, I bet so many “real” figures have been straight-washed for their filmic treatments that if every biopic for the next ten years included a prominent gay affair (at the very least) the result would be more true to life than the last hundred years of gay-free moving pictures. (I should note that Hollywood will make the occasional exception from its landscape of hets for the villain whose sexuality is merely more proof of his depravity.)

source: Passions of the Cut Sleeve: the male homosexual tradition in China by Bret Hinsch


Art Durkee said...

Not do I completely agree, but I agree to such an extent that sometimes these movies get spoiled for me. On the one hand, "it's only fiction." But that's an excuse for laziness. Historical accuracy is the least one ought to get from a big-budget biopic.

Then again, Hollywood cast Steve Allen to play the lead in "The Benny Goodman Story." Other than the fact that Steve was almost two feet taller than Benny, he played the role with understated wit and charm.

Hollywood has never ever erred on the side of accuracy, when you get down to it. They're interested in a good story, to be sure, but I think it was a Hollywood producer who first said, "Don't confuse me with the facts!"

Glenn Ingersoll said...

"Erred on the side of accuracy ..."

I'm trying to wrap my mind around that.

There's a new Christopher Isherwood biopic that includes boy-on-boy bedroom scenes ...