Billy Budd (1962) Film Review C

DIRECTOR: Peter Ustinov
Billy Budd
Ustinov cast a then-unknown Terence Stamp as beautiful Billy. He became an overnight sensation, causing the otherwise unremarkable film to become hugely profitable, and he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor of 1962, losing out to Ed Begley in “Sweet Bird of Youth.” Of course, many, including myself, would argue that Billy is the picture and that the rest of the cast is supporting him! The reason for Claggart’s jealousy of Billy is never explained. We presume it is due to his stunning good looks and unbounded optimism, which Claggart no longer possesses. However, many, including gay composer Benjamin Britton, who wrote his famous opera based on the Melville novel, maintain that there is an undercurrent of homoeroticism between Billy, Claggart, and Vere and that this is a Queer novel and a Queer film. Sometimes I feel this, and sometimes I don’t. I have not seen the opera.

Melville’s homosexuality is now well known, as are his love letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne.

POST TITLE: 60 Queer Films Made Under the Hays Code (1934-1967) – TheBrownees
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SUBCATEGORY: Queer Film | Other Directors of Interest
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Queer Cinema Comes Out: 40 Queer Films from 1967-1976 – TheBrownees

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