Happy Gay Pride Weekend Everyone!
My favorite gay cinematic moment is not a gay movie, not a gay scene, not explicitly erotic, not much of anything. I love it for the electrifying presence of gayness in a movie from 1941. I am speaking about Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion.
I've almost never seen this movie mentioned when discussing gayness in movies, not even when discussing gayness in Hitchcock movies. People talk about homoeroticism in Strangers on a Train or the mad lesbian love of Mrs. Danvers for Rebecca, but Suspicion is overlooked.
Johnnie (Cary Grant) and Lina (Joan Fontaine) visit Johnnie's friend Isobel, a writer of murder mysteries. Also attending dinner is Phyllis. Based on their familiarity and the way they serve dinner, it is obvious the two women live together. Moreover, while Isobel ("Izzy") dresses as a British lady should, Phyllis ("Phil" to her partner) is in a man's suit and tie, with a man's hairstyle
And this is what's so glorious. Phil and Izzy aren't dangerous. They're not villains. They're not the subject of a joke, nor exaggerated, nor horrifying. They simply are. A butch/femme couple, in 1941, relaxing at home, entertaining a straight couple, chatting about books. Fifty years later, Basic Instinct inspired protest from the LGBT community, because it was still almost impossible to see gays and lesbians in a movie unless they were killers or crazy, suicidal or deranged or tragic or pornified, or—best case scenario—the wacky sexless neighbor.
Phil and Izzy are just an ordinary gay couple. They're not in the movie because they're gay, and their gayness is never mentioned. That they're butch/femme—probably the least-represented type of queer couple in the media—just adds to my pleasure.
I love Phil and Izzy so much.