“Straight-Jacket is a fun movie. It is a homage to the films of the fifties that mix farce and message. Guy Stone (Matt Letscher) is a horny movie star and a Hollywood sex symbol that just can’t seem to keep his pants zipped. His agent decides that the only way to save his career is to marry him off to a naïve secretary (Carrie Preston). Everyone knows the marriage is a sham aside from Sally, the secretary who tries very hard to make a husband out of Stone. In the meantime Guy meets Rick (Adam Greer) who is his exact opposite and challenges his living a lie.
The script is sharp. Full of great one liners that will keep you laughing; this is one of those films that entertain the entire length. Adam Greer is wonderful as he steals the leading man and the audience’s heart. He is a Marxist novelist who seems just to be the one for Guy Stone. Their differences make them well suited.
The movie is obviously based on the life of Rock Hudson and Letcher plays it for al it is worth. Greer on the other hand plays a Gary Grant type character, suave and debonair.
What first appears to be a “fluff” movie about Hollywood and its hidden secrets soon takes a life of its own. Filmed in the style of the old Cinemascope love comedies, it is a pleasure to watch. Some of the issues covered are the closeted gay actors, the producers who only care about the cash and the secret gay scene on the West Coast.
Guy Stone is handsome and successful with a legion of female fans. The fact that he is a promiscuous and indiscriminate gay man is kept very secret. But of course he makes a mistake and when he is photographed “en flagrante”, his agent, so the story will not leak out, convinces him to marry to a ditsy, star struck girl. After marriage Stone discovers his wife’s obsession with being a wife whose all encompassing love prevents him from his nightly forays to the gay clubs. When Guy meets pro-communist writer, Rick Foster (Greer) who coincidentally wrote his last film which was a script he had doctored to get past the McCarthy probes, they fell in love. When they are found out, Guy is forced to go public with his homosexuality and give names of others. It is here that the film becomes serious and sincere. To find out what happens, you must see the film.
Everything about the movie is a throwback to those 50’s movies. The sets and costumes remind us of what was and that alone is fun to watch. The music is just awful but is reminiscent of that period. In fact. I think the term “camp” describes the movie completely. What starts as a strange film evolves into an endearing love story. No pretense, just fun makes this movie one you can enjoy every time you watch it. Resting somewhere between satire and screwball comedy, it is just pure pleasure. It demands nothing and gives great pleasure.