Liberace was a legendary entertainer – a piano-playing performer whose dress sense and flair for the extravagant costume was bigger and better than almost anyone else – ever.
He literally wore his wealth on his sleeve, his fingers, his capes and crowns.
Slavish to the lavish.
Indulgent to the max.
Materialistic to the extreme.
So it seems almost amazing that this human being living in the public eye also appeared to live out, loud and proud as a gay man. And he appeared to go largely unnoticed for his sexual preferences until much later in life. Did the public know and not care? That doesn’t seem possible in McCarthy era America. I know my grnadmother had no idea and didn’t believe the rumours anyway.
Now, in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and 2nd millenium with same-sex marriage on the political agenda across a fair chunk of the world and the recognition of gay rights as basic human rights too, it seems kind of preposterous that a movie made about a man like Liberace was too hot a potato for any big Hollywood studio to handle. They all rejected distributing the film theatrically.
It’s a good thing it was HBO to the rescue offering the film a home in its TV schedule.
And get this – this HBO Liberace movie co-stars two bankable Oscar winners – Matt Damon and Michael Douglas – with the film directed by Steven Soderbergh. If these three can’t get it up on the big screen – what kind of conseravtive Hollywood are the big studios and distributors shaping?
Here’s the trailer for Behind The Candelabra:
Here’s a clip of the real-life Liberace doing his thing: