Staircase (1969)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Gay & Lesbian Films, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - France, UK, USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Homosexuality is only incidentally important in this drama of dependence and intimacy between two aging hair stylists, and nothing shocking to staid and heterosexual sensibilities takes place in this movie, a star turn for Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. Whether the original play was as patently offensive to actual homosexuals as this movie is, is open to question. What is certain is that it grossly exaggerates every unpleasant "fag" stereotype in the books, However, the lead actors skillfully make art out of these very same offensive tics, demonstrating the mysterious power of great performers to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. In the story, Charlie (Harrison) and Harry (Burton) have been roommates, business partners and intimates for many long years, and their convoluted mutual dependency is every bit as complicated as that between any aged but incompatible couple who have grown used to one another over the years. Charlie thinks he can do without Harry, but Harry knows better and patiently bears the barbs and arrows that come his way. One of the nicer aspects of the stereotypical portrayal is that both men get to demonstrate some beautifully sharp, barbed wit.

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Keywords

homosexual, lover, roommate, cross-dressing, family, hairdresser, barber-shop, dementia, invalid, mother