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About

Narrated by Lily Tomlin
Emmy Award, Nonfiction Directing (1995) 

Featuring Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, Harvey Fierstein, John Schlesinger, Armistead Maupin, Susie Bright, and others. 

The acclaimed documentary based on Vito Russo’s groundbreaking book, The Cellulioid Closet explores the hidden subtext of more than 100 Hollywood movies—from The Maltese Falcon to Spartacus and Rebel Without A Cause to Thelma and Louise and Philadelphia. A lively cinematic journey through evolving lesbian and gay stereotypes—and homosexual self-image—as seen through the first century of movie-making. With clips from over 100 movies, and revealing interviews with many of the artists who created them.


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Festivals & Screenings

Partial List...

EMMY AWARD: DIRECTING
National Academy of Television Arts & Science

GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARD
University of Georgia School of Journalism

duPONT-COLUMBIA AWARD
Excellence in Journalism

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AWARD
Sundance Film Festival


Reviews

"Fascinating... a beautifully and thoughtfully made film that touches on many areas of human sexuality and human expression beyond the obvious ... a vital and artful piece of work ... Celluloid Closet is a nonfiction film that presses more emotional buttons than many a manipulative melodrama and seems of equal interest to those of every conceivable sexual identity. It's not only about how people see each other and see themselves; it's also about being human and the joy and pain and confusion that strange condition entails."

 - Tom Shales, The Washington Post

"Two thumbs up ... terrific!"

- Siskel & Ebert

"That's Entertainment with a difference... snappy, glamorous... a testimonial to the magic of the movies."

- J. Hoberman, Premiere

★★★★ (highest rating) "A spectacular movie-movie."

- Bruce Williamson, Playboy

 

Credits

Produced and Directed by
Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman 

Co-Producer
Michael Lumpkin

Executive Producers
Howard Rosenman
Bernie Brillstein
Brad Grey

Co-Executive Producer
Lily Tomlin

Executive Producer for HBO
Sheila Nevins

Story by
Rob Epstein
Jeffrey Friedman
Sharon Wood

Narration Written by
Armistead Maupin

Edited by
Jeffrey Friedman
Arnold Glassman

Director of Photography
Nancy Schreiber

Art Director
Scott Chambliss

Music by
Carter Burwell


Narrated by

Lily Tomlin 

Featuring

Jay Presson Allen

Susie Bright

Quentin Crisp

Mart Crowley

Tony Curtis

Richard Dyer

Antonio Fargas

Harvey Fierstein

Whoopi Goldberg

Farley Granger

Harry Hamlin

 


Tom Hanks

Arthur Laurents

Shirley MacLaine

Armistead Maupin

Daniel Melnick

Ron Nyswaner

Jan Oxenberg

Paul Rudnick

Barry Sandler

Susan Sarandon

John Schlesinger

Steward Stern

Gore Vidal