June 29th, 2011

andrew potter

From Here to Eternity (The Restored Edition) by James Jones

The first time I received the offer to read the uncensored version of From Here to Eternity by James Jones, recently re-published by Open Media Road, I did question why they were “proposing” me this novel. While I well remember Montgomery Cliff in the role of Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt, that was not enough reason, I thought, to enlist this novel as an LGBT book to be read during pride month. So I did my little research, what I always do when I’m not sure about a book, and I discovered that James Jones was forced to cut out from the novel not only a lot of “bad” words that was unthinkable to print on paper, but also 2 scenes in which there was an indirect reference to homosexuality. According to the sources, one of the other famous character of the novel, Pvt. Angelo Maggio, played in the notorious movie by Frank Sinatra (who wanted so much this role to become himself a fictional character in The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola), confesses he allowed another man to have oral sex with him for money, they "comes in handy the middle of the month". And then in a second scene, there is a military investigation into gay activity in the barracks.

Even if it wasn't still enough, according to me, I was enticed to read it. Indeed the queer elements in the novel are way more than the two scenes of above, and both Prewitt than Maggio have a good share of it. Maggio indeed convinces Prewitt to go on a double date, Maggio with Hal, the French tutor he usually dates when he needs money, and Prewitt with Tommy, an aspiring writer who is not only Hal’s friend, but also former lover of Bloom, another fellow soldier of Prewitt and Maggio. Sincerely I don’t remember if Bloom’s character was in the movie as well, but here he has an important, even if tragic role. Actually all the characters somewhat involved with the queer elements will not have a positive end, and maybe that should have been the reason to not cut it from the story, but probably a post WWII America was not ready for the sex and the queer.

The story is too famous to summary it here, so I prefer to concentrate on the scene that is probably the main reason I read the novel. The double date between Prewitt/Maggio and Tommy/Hal is at the same time romantic and sad; for sure Prewitt is not into Tommy (and that is quite ironic considering his character was played by Montgomery Cliff), but I did not find in him any hate for Tommy or Hal. I re-read more time a passage in which, from what I understood, Prewitt is remembering how he was molested by two older men when he was still a kid; so, if anything else, he was the one who probably could have hosted some repressed anger for homosexuals. Maybe the author avoided this implication making Hal stating clearly that he doesn’t like boys, but grown men. In any case, James Jones presented to the reader Tommy and Hal like nothing the public imagination of the time thought about homosexuals. Sure, Hal is tall and lean, elegant and well-mannered, but he is not feminine; and Tommy is bulkier than many soldiers, for sure more than Prewitt and Maggio (who, in the novel, is small, but energized like a crazy ball). In a very long scene, the author brushes the characters of Tommy and Hal like an impressionist painter, giving the reader just that touch of information to build their whole life, especially that of Hal. An American who loves France, like many homosexuals of the time, Hal is forced to stay in the US by the war, and the less American state he can pick is Hawaii. For most of his scene, I quite liked him, he was witty and always polite, even when Prewitt tried more than once to make him snap. Sometime I even thought he was really in love with Maggio, and maybe he was. Maybe the closing scene about them reflects a bit the prejudice of the time, but all in all, Hal is a really positive character, way better than many other in the novel.


Amazon Kindle: From Here to Eternity: The Restored Edition
Publisher: Open Road (May 10, 2011)

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Excerpt: Tinseltown by Barry Brennessel

Tinseltown by Barry Brennessel
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (June 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608203565
ISBN-13: 978-1608203567
Amazon: Tinseltown
Amazon Kindle: Tinseltown

Blurb: Film student Micah Malone learns the hard way that when life sucks, you can’t just yell, “Cut! Let’s do another take!”
His grades are a box-office bomb. His friends create more drama than a soap opera. And his love life needs a laughtrack. While there’s no script to dictate what happens next, can Micah find the direction he needs? Life, after all, is no film school project. But it is great source material. The only source material.
Let the cameras roll. Micah’s quirky story has begun filming.

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andrew potter

You Should Meet My Son! (2010) directed by Keith Hartman

A fish-out-of-water comedy about a conservative Southern mom who discovers that her only son is gay. Determined that he won't go through life alone, she sets out to find him a husband.

Director: Keith Hartman

Writer: Keith Hartman

Release Date: 2010

Genres: Comedy, Family

Storyline: Mae (Joanne McGee) is a very traditional southern mother who dearly loves his only son, Brian (Stewart Carrico). Mae and her sister Rose (Carol Goans) invite a new girl every Friday night in the hope that Brian could like her, but instead he always brings on with him his best friend and roommate Dennis. Finally one day, with the help of a magazine quiz entitled "How to find if your boyfriend is gay?", the sisters understand how the things real stand. Mae and Rose, after the initial shock, change their plans and go hunting for a man, the perfect husband for Brian. A nice delivery flower guy tell them the Internet is the place for these things, and so ask they ask to the teenager next door to finally set up the computer that Brian gave them 4 years ago. The boy, who comes out is gay as well, directs the ladies to Manhunt, where they are brutally introduced into the hottest gay sex market of 21st century. But they are not discouraged, and in the end decide to go to a gay club downtown...

“Trust me: I have never seen another movie in this budget range that is nearly this good.” --AfterElton.com

Awards: "Best Domestic Feature" OutFlix Memphis
"Best Feature" North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Fest
"Best Feature" ReelOut Film Festival, Canada
"Best Screenplay" Festival Del Sol, Spain

@Amazon: You Should Meet My Son!
@TLA Releasing

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Cast (in credits order)
Joanne McGee ... Mae
Carol Goans ... Rose
Stewart Carrico ... Brian
Ginger Pullman ... Jennie Sue
Steve Snyder ... Chase
Acquah Dansoh ... Fantasia
Matt Palazzolo ... Salsa Rojah
Chris Nolan ... Greg
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Carmona ... Bar Patron
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Brian & Chase