Essay: Queer Films

Pages: 6 (1788 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Film  ·  Buy for $19.77

Queer Films

Queerness in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and in Pineapple Express

In spite of the apparent heterosexual general character in Howard Hawks' 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and in David Gordon Green's 2008's Pineapple Express, the two motion pictures actually put across queer concepts through the fact that the central characters need each-other in a non-sexual way. Traditional films are normally recognized for the fact that the main characters in some of the most important scenes are played by a male and a female. Superficial viewers are likely to ignore most factors pointing toward the belief that these two films are in point of fact meant to put across everything but heterosexual ideas.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is apparently directed at discussing Lorelei Lee's (Marilyn Monroe) narrative involving her determination to get as much money as possible and the impediments that she has to overcome in order to achieve success in her endeavor. One might be inclined to believe that her soon-to-be husband, Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan), comes right after Lorelei when concerning the order of importance of the characters in the motion picture. However, it is gradually revealed that Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russel) is actually the most significant secondary character in the film, as her behavior, her relationship with Lorelei, and the fact that she manages to assist Lorelei in getting out of uncomfortable situations makes it obvious that she takes on a dominant nature and that she is determined to impose her strength with the purpose publicizing the feelings she has for Lorelei. In spite of the sentiments that the two women have (or have not) for each-other, they both acknowledge the fact that it is impossible for them to make it in the contemporary society. The scene where Lorelei sings in regard to how "Diamonds are a girl's best friends" is essential in having viewers understand that women are guided by their desire to have success in society, with finances standing as one of the most important factors in a woman's life. Lorelei and Dorothy are both lost without the help of men, even with the fact that the latter is less interested in money in comparison to the former.

Howard Hawks has come up with a film that expressed a form of sexuality that was much more intense than the forms of sexuality typical for movies from the era. He practically took the story and increased "the sexual play/exchange against a backdrop of increasing reification of consumerist values" (Turim, 102). The director focused on the relationship between Lorelei and Dorothy in an attempt to have audiences learn more in regard to the feelings that the women felt for each-other and with the purpose of having viewers break away from traditional values in order to embrace newer and less conservatory concepts.

While the film contains both heterosexual and queer concepts, the former are constantly destabilized by the behavior of the two women and as a result of the determination they involve in wanting to help each-other. By frequently interacting and emerging victoriously out of difficult situations without being assisted by men, Lorelei and Dorothy manage to strike at the foundations of a society based on patriarchy. Even though it is not obvious, homosexuality similarly goes against heterosexuality in this situation. By supplementing each-other throughout the motion picture, homosexuality and heterosexuality manage to put across bisexuality as a perfectly normal act. Viewers are practically encouraged to engage in queer activities when considering the relationship between certain characters in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. When combined with the overall storyline in the film, the motion picture's title can be considered to be a reference in regard to how Dorothy is less naive in comparison to Lorelei. Lorelei seems to be certain that her only chance to succeed in life is to get her hands on a rich man, especially considering that the general society from the 1950s was less supportive in regard to women and toward their social status. In contrast to Lorelei, Dorothy is unwilling to subject to society's rules, this being obvious in particular scenes. The scene where she poses as Lorelei and manages to infuriate the judge is very important in demonstrating her character. She does not appear to care about the aftermath that her actions can have on her life and instead prefers to do everything in her power in order to save Lorelei from being wrongly convicted. Through her behavior and through her devotement to Lorelei, Dorothy is very different from women living contemporary to the film, as she is virtually a hero that does not care about gender and that is determined to use all of her power with the purpose of putting across her feelings toward Lorelei.

Even though Lorelei appears to be less courageous because she is attracted to money, she is actually using men as tools. She uses Gus to get to his father's money and Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman (Charles Coburn) with the purpose of getting his wife's diamond tiara. Lorelei is, to a certain degree, an opportunist, as she is aware that society is relatively unappreciative toward women and knows that one of her only chances to achieve success would be to exploit men as well as he possibly can.

The dance scenes are one of the characteristic queer elements of the film. Whereas normal dance scenes involve a man and a woman, most scenes in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes show Lorelei and Dorothy as they dance together. Musicals in particular are known to present a man and woman couple as it dances and sings to the entertainment of the rest of the crew. Audiences are gradually influenced in understanding that the male characters toward who the main female characters in the film put across sexual attraction are somewhat unimportant when considering the general feeling of the motion picture. Male-female sexual attraction is thus less important in this film, as the action focuses on Lorelei and Dorothy and on their non-erotic queer relationship.

Film viewers from the 1950s were certainly more sensible than audiences today, thus meaning that Hawks was well-aware of the fact that he had to send his message in a less obvious manner. The director used many heterosexual concepts with the purpose of getting the typical viewer's attention away from some of the less obvious queer elements present in the motion picture.

Pineapple Express is normally considered to be a comedy film that has nothing to do with homoeroticism or homosexual feelings in general. However, when looking at the motion picture more carefully, one is likely to discover that it contains a series of elements that can be interpreted as queer. Awkward language, accidental episodes where characters find themselves physically close to each-other and a romance story that gradually develops between the central characters differentiate this film from other movies that one might consider to be similar.

Characters who initially pose in hardened weed-smokers that do not care about anything eventually prove to be scared and emotional individuals. Red's (Danny McBride) character is particularly remarkable when considering the changes he experiences from the beginning of the movie and until the last scenes. He wants to seem tough at first but rapidly proves to be an emotional girly-like person who is queerer than anyone might have thought.

Although Pineapple Express initially seems to focus on weed-smokers, funny occurrences, and masculinity, all of these elements are contradicted as the action progresses and it becomes apparent that there is more to the film than this. The masculinity that initially prevents the three characters from putting across their feelings eventually disappears as the three friends each demonstrate that they care for each-other.

While the action seems to revolve around Dale (Seth Rogen), Saul (James Franco), and the relationship between the two, Red's queerness definitely comes into light at various moments in the film. Dale, Saul, and Red, are actually very different from individuals who can be typically found doing the jobs that they do.

There are several instances in the film where queerness is emphasized, especially when considering that Dale recognizes Saul as his best friend at first, abandons him later after having a fight with him, only to reunite with him in the end. Dale risks losing his beautiful girlfriend and even his life in the process, demonstrating that he actually cares for Saul.

In spite of the fact that the film has several scenes that are obviously meant to relate to homosexuality, it also contains a series of hidden messages that can only be seen by more experienced film enthusiasts. Although Saul considers himself to be a typical dealer, he considers that his relationship with Dale is different, even with the fact that Dale initially wants to prove otherwise by leaving Saul immediately after the two smoke. Even with his apparent lack of interest in Saul, Dale sends several mixed messages to his dealer friend, making it more difficult for Saul and for the audience as a whole to understand his actual feelings in regard to his friend.

Saul and Dale's adventure… [END OF PREVIEW]

Homosexuality Japan in Japan's Progressive Term Paper


Films as Expression of Asian Values Research Paper


Criminalization of Gays in the United States Essay


Filmmaking Has Experienced a Series of Advancements Research Proposal


Horror Mid-Term My Definition Term Paper


View 192 other related papers  >>

Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Queer Films.  (2011, May 2).  Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/queer-films/6121053

MLA Format

"Queer Films."  2 May 2011.  Web.  16 November 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/queer-films/6121053>.

Chicago Format

"Queer Films."  Essaytown.com.  May 2, 2011.  Accessed November 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/queer-films/6121053.