“THE GAY DECEIVERS”–a landmark film


A Landmark Film

Amos Lassen

“The Gay Deceivers” which came out in 1969 has been incorrectly seen by some a homophobic movie. I find that to be a far-fetched notion. It is a clever comedy that although it uses gay stereotypes it is not homophobic. The point of view is very gay and it has a lot of male semi-nudity for as movie made during that period. The gay guys depicted in the movie are nice and caring guys and laugh with them and not at them because they d not take themselves seriously. Even the last laugh of the movie is based upon how hypocritical the American system is. The movie, in fact, humanizes the most stereotypical of gay characters by poking fun in a gentle manner and the film questions the viewer about his own honesty and views on homosexuality. For a period piece, the film is excellent. Sure it is politically incorrect and contains all those things that we as gays complain about today but this is what makes the movie so funny. Remember it was made almost forty years ago. The film, to be sure, is dated but in actuality it makes fun of the straights and the preconceptions and misconceptions that they have about gay men and shows the intolerance of the world regarding gays. In the 60s, we were ignored by the movie industry unle4ss there was some terrible doom for us.

Watching this movie in the 2000s it seems small and very outdated but this is really a very funny movie and simultaneously it shows the sad reality of the society of when it was made. It is ad because we, as gays, would use our sexuality to escape being drafted. The movie which was made a little before the gay liberation movement got going, gives a very sensitive view of the gay community and lifestyle of the period. The stars of the show are Kevin Coughlin as Danny and Lawrence Casey as Eliot and they give intense, fresh and emotional performances as men who live with the threat of being sent to Vietnam over their shoulders. Personally I thought it was funny and very clever. Even more important, for a movie to admit that gays are anything else than sick people or any nonsense such as that, was a big step for Hollywood. We see straight guys becoming friends with their straight landlord and his lover even when their friends and families are malicious We have to give a little credit for the attempt to present gay characters as decent and kind people.

“The Gay Deceivers” is an underrated comedy masterpiece. It is unique and unparalleled and was years ahead f its time and has been grossly misunderstood by people of all sexual bents. It raises important social issues and dos so with grace, charm and simplicity.

All of the actors are good but the star of the show is Michael Greer who is wonderful as the swishy landlord. He is an extreme stereotype but does that matter? The role fits him to a tee and he performs beautifully. Look out for the Tom of Finland-like drawings on the walls of the gay bar and the clothes which look so funny now but were just right back then. This is q movie that belongs with the rest of the films that are part of the gay genre in cinema. It is one of the best and one of the most honest comedies about gay life in America in that period. If you consider yourself a movie buff, this is one you have to see. If you just like movies, this is a great one.

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