Judge Brett Cullum finds ten movies that make you want to march and wave rainbow flags.
Our reviews of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Blu-ray) (published July 4th, 2011), The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert: Extra Frills Edition (published June 18th, 2007), Boys Don't Cry (published June 26th, 2000), Imagine Me And You (published June 8th, 2006), Kissing Jessica Stein (published September 17th, 2002), and The Object Of My Affection (published January 24th, 2002) are also available.
Ten films to celebrate gay pride!
The Cinema Pride Collection gathers together ten of the best GLBT films in the MGM library, and packages them all together in a cardboard slip case that sports rainbow colors. Is it worth being proud of? Certainly! It's a solid gathering of important queer films including six comedies, four dramas, and a parade of big stars and Oscar winners as well as quiet indie flicks that caught lots of attention. When viewed as a whole it's a documented journey that shows us how far the movement has come in fifty years. You start off with a black and white film that never even says the word "lesbian" or "gay," and nine movies later wrap it up with a comedy where the lead girl's mother actually approves of her girlfriend encouraging her lifestyle. You see gay go from painful hushed secret to flamboyant celebration, but all along the way are reminders that prejudice is still something we have to fight. These ten films are only available all together at Amazon as of this writing, so let's take a look at why you should show your pride and click the link in the upper right hand corner to buy.
Spoiler Alert! I'll be discussing the endings of the films below.
#1 The Children's Hour (1961)
Technically things are okay. The DVD included is a feature-only edition with the film and no extras, save for a vintage trailer. The black and white picture transfer is just fine with nice contrast levels. Sound is a simple mono and clear enough.
#2 La Cage Aux Folles 1979
Technically we have another simply okay disc, and a VHS-level image. The DVD has only the feature with a vintage trailer, so no supplements. The transfer shows the film's age often looking soft and more than a little grainy. There are specks and scratches on the print, yet it still looks charming enough to feel worth watching since it recalls a more primitive time. Sound options include the original French with English subtitles as well as the English dub for those who wish to not read their films. In an interesting move, most of the original French cast dubbed their own characters for the English language track. It's not quite as dreadful as these things usually are.
#3 My Beautiful Launderette (1985)
Technically it mirrors the previous two offerings. The DVD is a no-frills affair with the film and a vintage trailer. The transfer looks old and faded, rather dingy to say the least. Colors are washed out quite a bit, black levels are not deep, and the grain washes over everything. There is a two channel mono mix for the dialogue, and it is tinny and sometimes muffled. It is need of some polishing, but it's here.
#4 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
This DVD edition only features the film with a good enough transfer and nice soundtrack emulation. It is the bare bones first release, and not the superior, enhanced, deluxe version that hit store shelves more recently. Colors pop appropriately, although it looks overly dark and a bit aged. There are no extras, save for the theatrical trailer. It seems a pity to offer the less fabulous version, but there you are.
#5 The Birdcage (1996)
Technically things are just okay again. The DVD is a flipper disc with a widescreen transfer on one side and a fullscreen on the other. The visual quality is pretty good with nice color saturation and a crisp clear image. Audio is five channel surround which is also well done. There are no extras, save for the predictable trailer.
#6 Bent (1997)
The DVD is a bare bones edition with only the trailer as a supplement. Yet the transfer is nice enough with clear images and saturated colors. Sound is a simple stereo.
#7 The Object of My Affection (1998)
The treatment is actually better on this one. The DVD actually has a making-of featurette! There is a special feature for once, someone pick my jaw up off the floor. It's about three minutes long, but talking heads never looked so good after six bare bones DVDs. The transfer is okay, although it does look a little underwhelming and flat. Sound is a full surround mix, and it makes the film pop audibly.
#8 Boys Don't Cry (1999)
The DVD comes with a making-of featurette, a director's commentary, and a collection of trailers. It's the loaded disc of the collection so far! Actually, this one deserves the most extras as it is probably the most accomplished film in the set when we look at how much it achieves. Visually, the film is dark, but looks good on DVD. Sound is a nice dramatic full surround treatment.
#9 Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
The DVD is another packed to the rafters one. It includes deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and two commentaries including a director one and actresses one featuring both the lead and her love interest. The film itself looks good, although the budget limitations show up in the visual presentation. Sound options include a full surround five speaker treatment which does great with the dialogue and music.
#10 Imagine Me & You 2006
This disc is stuffed. It's another loaded DVD with a director's commentary and filmmaker and cast Q&A session. Picture is perfectly fine with a very clean transfer that does well with recreating the film on the small screen.
The Cinema Pride Collection is hardly balanced, when you consider six of the films are about gay guys, three are about lesbians who aren't always committed lesbians, and only one deals with a transgender individual. So the girls get short shrift as do those who question gender identity. Yet we can still say that these DVDs do a certain justice, providing us with a nice history of the celluloid "out of the closet" images on the big screen. We've come a long way, and these films prove it. The only downside is, if you're a member of the GLBT community and a cinema fan, don't you own most of these already? If you do, be proud; you've beaten them to the punch. But for the rest of you pride slackers, here's your chance to catch up and ride our float in the parade.
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What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice, The Children's Hour
Perp Profile, The Children's Hour
Distinguishing Marks, The Children's Hour
Scales of Justice, La Cage Aux Folles
Perp Profile, La Cage Aux Folles
Distinguishing Marks, La Cage Aux Folles
Scales of Justice, My Beautiful Launderette
Perp Profile, My Beautiful Launderette
Distinguishing Marks, My Beautiful Launderette
Scales of Justice, The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
Perp Profile, The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
Distinguishing Marks, The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
Scales of Justice, The Birdcage
Perp Profile, The Birdcage
Distinguishing Marks, The Birdcage
Scales of Justice, Bent
Perp Profile, Bent
Distinguishing Marks, Bent
Scales of Justice, The Object Of My Affection
Perp Profile, The Object Of My Affection
Distinguishing Marks, The Object Of My Affection
Scales of Justice, Boys Don't Cry
Perp Profile, Boys Don't Cry
Distinguishing Marks, Boys Don't Cry
Scales of Justice, Kissing Jessica Stein
Perp Profile, Kissing Jessica Stein
Distinguishing Marks, Kissing Jessica Stein
Scales of Justice, Imagine Me And You
Perp Profile, Imagine Me And You
Distinguishing Marks, Imagine Me And You
• IMDb: The Children's Hour
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