Episode 20: Penda’s Fen (1974)

Penda’s Fen aired on with the BBC’s Play for Today series on March 21, 1974. David Rudkin’s screenplay follows a gay teen on an Alice in Wonderland style journey through England’s pagan past. My guest and I attempt to parse Rudkin’s thoughts on religion, sexuality, social conformity and rebellion.

This episode includes spoilers.

The Incubus

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Episode 19: After School Specials (1987)

After School specials featured young people dealing with problems. They could be earnest to the point of camp. In 1987 two specials were filmed that discussed sexuality. What if I’m Gay? aired on CBS. Two of Us was censored by the BBC and pushed to a late night spot. It wouldn’t get a daytime airing till 1990. My guests and I discuss the mixed messages these specials send to their target audience.

This episode includes spoilers.

What if I’m Gay?

Welcome to season three!

Two of Us

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Episode 18: Zero Patience (1993)

In 1984 French Canadian flight attendant Gaétan Dugas was falsely accused of bringing H.I.V. to America. He was dubbed “Patient Zero.” In 1993 John Greyson wrote and directed a movie musical about the myth. Zero Patience is raunchy, surreal and political. A sharp contrast to the film Philadelphia that it premiered alongside. I’ve grown to love it. My guest was not a fan.

This episode includes spoilers and strong language.

And that concludes season two! Thank you so much for listening!

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Episode 17: Our Sons (1991)

In 1985 John Erman directed the groundbreaking TV film An Early Frost. One of the first films to address the AIDS epidemic. In 1991 he returned the subject in Our Sons. Julie Andrews and Ann-Margret play the disapproving mothers of a gay couple (Hugh Grant and Zeljko Ivanek). Zeljko’s dying of AIDS so the women go on a road trip to visit them. Cue fights, tears and a sprinkling of camp.

This episode includes spoilers and strong language.

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Episode 16: The Children’s Hour (1961)

William Wyler first adapted Lilian Hellman’s play The Children’s Hour to the screen in 1936. The work was heavily censored to meet the standards of the Hollywood production code. In 1961 he produced a remake that restored the lesbian content. My guests had contrasting responses to the film.

This episode includes spoilers. I’m adding a trigger warning as the story includes an act of self harm.

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Episode 13: Victim (1961)

Welcome to Season Two! Basil Deardon’s Victim pits a closeted barrister against a blackmailer. This was the first English language film to use the word “homosexual.” It bravely denounced the UK’s anti-gay laws. Today it remains a crackling noir with a heroic gay leading man, the likes we rarely see in cinema.

This episode contains plot spoilers and a brief discussion of a characters’ suicide.

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Episode 12: Beautiful Thing (1996)

Thank you for listening to Rainbow Colored Glasses. Season one concludes with a look at one of my favorite films: Beautiful Thing. Jonathan Harvey adapted the script from his hit stage play. It tells the story of Jamie, a working class teen in love with the boy next door. Linda Henry nearly steals the show as his brassy mother Sandra. It was a pleasure to share the movie with my guest.

This episode contains plot spoilers and strong language.

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Episode 11: Victor Victoria (1982)

Blake Edwards co-wrote and directed this glamorous remake of the 1933 musical. Julie Andrews stars as a cis woman who performs as a female impersonator. The film has a lot to say about sexuality and gender roles. But at 2 hours and 14 minutes is it too much of a good thing? Let’s discuss.

This episode contains plot spoilers and strong language.

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