Apr 8, 2009

Clash of the Titans

Making Love premiered on February 12, 1982 - I was 22 (the Fool's year), my last year at school. I was in the final processes of coming out and this movie had a huge impact - the first Hollywood depiction of gay men who weren't killers, sadists, self-loathing trannies or just tragic misfits.

Making Love starred Michael Ontkean (Twin Peaks) Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels) and Harry Hamlin - a Greek God. The first real homoerotic kiss on the silver screen - I remember the gasps and the groans in the audience. Launched almost on Valentine's Day, entirely appropriate since Eros is at the root of this pagan inspired holiday - "the god who inflames the passion of men for other men". An interesting aside, the screenwriter - Barry Sandler - relates how Making Love did in Utah:

Salt Lake City. The highest grossing shows there were during the lunch hour. They were always filled, and all these single guys with wedding rings. The night shows, forget it. But the lunch shows, watch out!

Harry Hamlin (HH) played the part of Bart McQuire, the satyr of male lust that destroys Kate and Michael's "happy" marriage. Michael decides that endless reruns of Gilbert and Sullivan are no match for real passion. Harry plays the part of the "destroyer" in the film, the catalyst for Michael's self realization.

Interestingly, Harry Hamlin played Perseus in Clash of the Titans, 1981.

Perseus, the legendary founder of Mycenae (magic mushroom land) and of the Perseid dynasty there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths in the cult of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus was the hero who killed Medusa and claimed Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster.

Cyrus Gordon proposed that Perseus is a Semitic name, from p-r-s, "to cut." Nothing in the lore or the evidence excludes the possibility of Semitic elements among the early Greeks. The Greeks thought that Perseus meant "destroyer", but p-r-s would mean that as well. --wikipedia

So Perseus as a destroyer archetype works quite well with Hamlin's character of unhappy marriage destroying Bart. The decapitated gorgon eerily reminds me of Heath Ledger's Joker and his infamous calling card.

Heath also played Ennis del Mar, the bisexual cowboy of Brokeback Mountain. The Joker character was also played by (homosexual Catholic) Caesar Romero in the Batman TV series. I have gay/joker/destroyer synchs circling around like sharks! Which always leads to Shiva - the Lord who is half woman. Shiva's symbolic weapon is the trident, synching with all thing maritime and Poseidon, who also plays a role in the Perseus myth, being the God who ravished Medusa (as a beautiful woman with really great hair) within chaste Minerva's (Athena) temple. One day Minerva caught the two of them in her temple and unable to punish Poseidon, punished Medusa, turning the woman into a hideous monster.

Ledger's gay character is named Del Mar - of the sea.

Bringing it all back to John the Revelator, Revelations 9:11 (really...) says:

They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. --Rev 9:11

The "Abyss" is also the sea, and remember that the late, great Steve Fossett was mounting an expedition to the deepest abyss on the planet before his disappearance - a new submarine exploration of the Mariana Trench - max depth: 10,911 meters.

Apollyon is associated with the Devil by almost all of Christianity, except for Jehovah's Witnesses, who say he is Jesus!? Gotta love the JW. My first boyfriend Randy played the roll of destroyer. Randy told me that an ex had called him the "dick of death" and I agreed... I wanted to be destroyed over and over again! I also can't forget that one of the most "religious" homoerotic tales ever written was Apollyon Gym, by Absman420.

When I synch about it, queerness seems to be at the very eye of the psycho-mythical hurricane enveloping the planet. We sit in the eye, and we have no idea why.


The wikipedia entry for Brokeback Mountain shares the intriguing fact that the poster art was inspired by the poster for James Cameron's Titanic:

The film's significance has been attributed to its portrayal of a same-sex relationship without any reference to the history of the gay civil rights movement. This emphasizes the tragic love story aspect, which leads many commentators to effectively compare Ennis and Jack's drama to classic and modern romances like Romeo and Juliet or Titanic, often using the term star-crossed lovers. This link to classic romances is no coincidence: the poster for the film was inspired by that of James Cameron's Titanic, after Ang Lee's collaborator James Schamus looked at the posters of "the 50 most romantic movies ever made".

Hamlin appeared in two 1992 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. In the episode "Joker's Wild," Hamlin played the role of Cameron Kaiser, a businessman who sinks all his money into a casino, then counts on the Joker to destroy it in order to collect on the insurance policy from a reputable company.


JB said...

Word verification: trubazzi. Almost sounds like a real word.

Anyway, hi Michael, JB here. You'll be glad to hear that I'm still becoming more and more gay with every passing day. Got my first male kiss the other day, from a guy at work who looks a hell of a lot like Chris Crocker. His name's Francis, he's more "manly" than my Chrissey baby, he was raised in the woods way up north, a true French-Canadian lumberjack type who was raised by his grampa and actually hunted his food with a bow and arrow for many years. We're the same age (27-28), but you'd swear he was in his early forties, his face has such character.

I'm still a virgin, on both sides of the aisle, and I'd be nervous being with my first girl, so imagine my first guy, who's more rugged than I am. I guess I automatically got a "gaydar" installed as soon as I headed left, 'cause I could tell what he was all about as soon as I saw him there, "the new guy". Blonde hair (REAL blonde hair, not Los Angeles bleach blonde like Chrissey, I didn't even know real blondes still existed out there), clear blue eyes, Jesus. I get so nervous when I'm close to him that I feel like peeing (Too Much Info, I know).

About Greek mythology: I was watching CNN, and don't you find it hilarious when you hear christian conservative types say that homosexuality and gay marriage will bring about the end of democracy and Western civilization?
They're either lying or just plain ignorant. Democracy and Western civilization STARTED in ancient Greece, which was, well... EXTREMELY F***ING GAY. Even their gods were bi. And then the Western world nearly died, and was reborn during the Renaissance, thanks to whom? The Masters of the Renaissance, all gay or bi, working for the Church, ironically.

I got a new tattoo, it reads EROSHIMA, after my favorite book. Eros and Hiroshima. Sex and death, the two oldest myths on Earth. ;)

P.S.: It took me so long to write this comment, that the computer gave me a new word verification: commahs. Heh.

Michael said...

Hi JB, great to hear from you! I was so nervous on my first date with Randy that I threw up! How romantic. Glad things are progressing along.

Yea, those fundies are a source of endless irony. They say democracy but they mean fascism. If democracy ever threatens a return to the "land of the free", they will do everything in their power to oppose it.

David Stewart said...

JB - **GAY AGENDA SPOILERS** ". . . I'm still becoming more and more gay with every passing day . . ." Soon the world will be ours! Mwahahahahah! - Thanks for the completely charming and endearing update JB - keep on with the adventure!

Michael - Great post! Is Making Love available on DVD? In 1982 I was 20 and - ermm straight . . . .(sure David) - and never saw the movie - ain't life a hoot?
But Clash of the Titans?! - now that's another story - Harryhausen (another HH kind of) Rang all my bells since boyhood. Mentally, I still compare dinosaur movies to The Valley of Gwangi.
But Clash had it all - Olivier as Zeus, Ursula Undress as Aphrodite - and don't think little ol' straight little me didn't notice Harry Hamlin. I think what was kind of interesting about his casting is that it was among the vanguard of presenting pretty boys simply because they were pretty - the whole Calvin Klein underwear model thing was about about to take off, but in my awareness at the time, Mr Hamlin was not just Perseus, he was among the first of that marketing wave to be re-presented to us as the old Greek/Roman ideal of the beautiful youth. The image of him triumphantly holding up the gorgon's head - the epitome of ugliness - is a powerful image.
Harry Hamlin, besides being proclaimed as The World's Sexiest Man - was also a Yale graduate. What some around these parts may find interesting about that is HH came from a wealthy and prominent NY state family and his grandfather Chauncey Jerome Hamlin was also a Yalie, and a member of the the Skull and Bones to boot. Now while i don't mind imagining our Harry masturbating in a coffin - I don't know if he kept the family tradition - I can't imagine that Bonesmen ever wind up on a Dance For Money TV show . . .
Another interesting revelation to me courtesy of the Wiki was the fact that HH's father, Chauncey Jerome Jr., was a Pasadena aeronautical Engineer who worked with Nazi Paperclip rocket-scientist Werner VonBraun! Now I have no idea how big the rocket-scientist community really was in 1940's Pasadena, but it certainly is not hard to imagine his Pasadena rocket-scientist dad crossing paths with our old friend Pasadena rocket-scientist Marvel Whiteside Parsons. So while i was fruitlessly scouring the internet looking for evidence that might link the two, I started looking at images of our Greek God and of our Marvel Parsons and began wondering if I should not be instead looking for evidence of Parsons meeting Ma Hamlin at some point in time. HA - I'm going to pretend I believe it.
Fun to think about anyway - if HH really were Marvel's Moonchild, that would certainly be interesting in light of your "destroyer" identification Michael.
OMG - the word ver is nonfic - the Oracle says it's true!

Jake Kotze said...

This is great context for the character Matthew Abaddon (Rev 9:11(!)) in Lost.

Thanks Micheal

wv: propr

Michael said...

David, you are indeed smoking the finest! ;-) Harry Hamlin is possibly Jack Parson's infamous "Moon Child"? That makes him an "organic portal" of Apollo/Abaddon - the Destroyer! I wonder if he drives a Maserati? Yes, Making Love is now on DVD.

Speaking of Parsons, the name "Jack" always reminds me of the old story Jack and the Beanstalk, which is a fairy tale version of the Tower of Babel, Stairway to Heaven myth. Ancient Astronaut Theory proposes the original Tower of Babel was a rocket or launch pad.

Jake - interesting. Apparently his character's purpose was to "get people where they needed to be".

Esperanto Grrl said...

Cesar Romero is actually a very interesting person, at least in Cuban history. He's the illegitimate grandson of the poet and nationalist Jose Marti, who is believed to be the founder of the idea of Cuban independence and identity. When Jose Marti was in exile in New York City along with Maseo and other Founding Fathers (including one of my ancestors, who was not only a Mambi, but the first Secretary of the Treasury for the independent Cuban Republic, which is what Latin American countries tend to do: stick some Jew in the back room to count the money!), Marti fathered an illegitimate child who was Cesar Romero's mother.

As for Harry Hamlin, CLASH OF THE TITANS was easily the most entertaining of the old claymation epics.

Michael said...

Egrrl - thanks for the fascinating background info. I was doing some research on Cesar a while ago, and discovered his affinity with Catholic Liberation theology (a theology I admire, BTW). So finding out his parentage, I see it came naturally. The "illegitimate son" archetype is one we see acted out again and again in the myths, and David's musings about HH being the "secret son" of Jack Parsons fits in here. I recall that Atlantean Times had an AMAZING theory going in his exhaustive coverage of Heath Ledger's death that Ledger might have been the secret son of Lawrence Olivier - who played Zeus to Hamlin's Perseus in Clash of the Titans. Zeus was always spreading his seed around.

I have just added Clash to my Netflix queue.

Anadæ Effro said...

Michael! I meant to thank you for that gorgeous, medieval, circular depiction (a plate?) of "one of the chief princes", the sword-wielding Archangel Micha-El, in your e-missive to your truly exquisite link to your other project as nautical designer & genius. I think of St Brendan when I think of you now. Really, man. I kid you not. You're both navigators to the Promised Land. Hey!

Then, this wonderfully in-spired article, Perseus & his more recent depictions as they relate to other God winks. Very, very nice.

It was due to that particular Hellenic myth that, at five, after seeing Ray Harryhausen's "Jason & the Argonauts", my never-ending romance with Classical Mythology & stop-motion animation began, later earning me the nick-name Medusa by age seven, so taken with the Gorgon saga was my ceaseless imagination by then.

Please, please note, not merely the claymation of Gumby & Pokey, Harryhausen's incorporation of what was dubbed his Dynamation techniqueinvolved his utilisation of stop-motion figures constructed of articulated metal frames over which were added movable glass eyes, latex skins, various coloured laminates, as well as feathers, animal fur, and snake skin, wherever needed for the specific creatures involved.

In his swan song outing, "Clash of the Titans", despite the omission of certain elements & resorting to various characters not originally appearing in the myth, Bobo, the robotic owl, the grotesque, satyr-like Calibos, the Kraken, and Orthos, the two-headed dog, oh, as well as depicting Medusa as a Naga, a serpentine-(rattler, no less!)-bodied subterranean creature indigenous to the folklore of India, it was & is still an amazing tour de force of his great cinematic talent.

But your citation of the Harry Hamlin vehicle,"Making Love", released only just a year after his Perseus role, as another depiction of the male homosexual liberator as (not so) happy family wrecker has even more Perseus meme to it than you realise.

In the exhaustive 1946 study of the myth by archaeologist Cornelia Steketee Hulst, "Perseus & the Gorgon", she recounts that the much later temple of Athena, the Parthenon, designed by Phidias, a modern day replica my husband & I visited (as you Gno) in Nashville in February (you & Varen HAVE to see it some day!) had actually been copied after an earlier temple to the Gorgon on Corfu, thus underscoring Medusa's preceding importance over the Olympians who later sought to dispatch her.

In short, Perseus is the home-wrecker indeed, leaving orphaned Medusa's children, Pegasus the wingéd steed & his brother Chrysaor of the Golden Sword, fathered by Poseidon, Athena's uncle & the god of the seas. Thanks for the great piece, Mike!

Dreaming of gods & monsters,
Anadæ Effro (•:-)}

Michael said...

Anadae - thanks for the comments. St. Brendan? You make me blush, though I do like "skin on frame" boats. Speaking of which, you really have to check out this amazing art/boat project - Windvinder, expedition to the origins of the wind.

So "Medusa" represents a prior civilization that the Greeks conquered and then made off with their myths?

Anadæ Effro said...

Yup. Not only that, Michael, but demonised her to boot. As well as the previously men-shunned (*wink*) Cornelia Steketee Hulst opus based on the evolution of the Perseus tale that ya jus' gotsta track down, see what mythographer Robert Graves also has to say about the Gorgons in his monumental "The White Goddess ~ A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth", released just two years after Hulst's title. There's a Wikipedia description of it located at this address. And thanks heaps for your attached Windvinder link, too. You're a dependable font of delectable ideas & intellectualism.

Speaking of which, where'd that disco article go on Amii Stewart's disco classic disappear to? I wuzz gonna remenisce all about the long defunct gay disco, Paradise Garage, formerly located in NYC's SoHo (for South of Houston St) district on King St.

I'll never forget their spiked juice bar fountain, the homosexual Greco-Roman orgy murals, and, bekawz of its non-alcoholic license status, the fact that patrons got a dime bag of majorly potent doobage with our admission.

I ask you, Mike, what HAS become of the cannabis connoisseur? Still longing for the good ol' dayze ~ Anadæ Effro (•:-)}

Michael said...

I accidently published that before it was even half done, so it's awaiting time to finish. I checked out the White Goddess link, thanks. I cracked up when he states that he doubts women can be poets, because they need to act as muses for male poets.

David Stewart said...

Wow Michael lots to to ponder with the all the great comments here - Esperanto Grrl; thanks for educating me about Mr Romero, and Michael too - its amazing to discover all this . And Anadae - Heavens - you gave us enough to study for a week! (or a lifetime) - That Medusa and the Gorgons were the last and garbled remnants of a conquered and demonized peoples . . .I must then apologize for my simple dismissal of Medusa as the epitome of ugliness - always nice to have my horizons expanded - thanks
Michael your comment about Jack and the Beanstalk was really spot on - I have been convinced for a long time there is a drive built right into our DNA to transcend this planet- either/both literally or figuratively - and the beanstalk-Stairway to Heaven - Tower of Babel is all part of that story for sure. Although the prize that awaits could be a golden-egg laying Goose, let us hope it's closer to what is revealed in the movie 2001 ! Even the builder of the beautiful boat creation you linked to is quoted as saying "What makes us move? What drives us to push back our boundaries, further and further, beyond what is necessary or even seems possible?" . .
There is something pushing us.
Or pulling . . . .
I have also wondered before if Jack and the Beanstalk might have suffered somewhere along the way a poor translation from some old German parable - or perhaps some sort of punning allegory.
Bienenstock is German for beehive and we probably all know what a rich source of symbolism bees and their work is. The beehive in particular is an important symbol to the rank of Master Mason - and I wonder if Jack's progression upwards might represent initiation into higher degrees of knowledge??
And I can even take beehive right back to launching pads and space travel . You may have heard of the Nazi Bell experiments If not you can read about the machine here:
Reich of the Black Sun - Nazi Secret Weapons & the Cold War Allied Legend
and proceed straight to page 232 (which is also page 237 of the total) - This bell-shaped thing was also called by the scientists working on it Bienenstock and the durn thing was probably an anti-gravity propulsion device . . . .. which may have had some sort of trans dimensional shifting or opening effects as well . .a Stargate!!! No shit!
Thanks Michael for so graciously hosting all the good stuff I read here!

Anadæ Effro said...

Monsieur Stewart !!! Bonjour! Please (buzzing of bees) go to this particular page. And then... Holy Fuck... there's A Thousand Airplanes On The Roof, the 1988 space opera with sound score by Philip Glass, text by David Henry Hwang (well known for his rewrite of Madame Butterfly as 'M'), and featuring the first holographic stage sets by Jerome Sirlin, in which the arrival of alien Grays (!) sounds like the buzzing of bees, not to overlook that their society is based on the individual exempt hive-mind . . . your DNA-encoded post-terrestrial template smacks of Leary's eight circuit mind, beautifully expressed in his The Game of Life. And BTW, your avatar of a reconfigured Lilith Gigipah of Sumeria frieze as a PLAYBOY Bunny is a riot! LOL! Happy Œstara, y'all! OMG! My captcha for this? bridg (•:-)}

Michael said...

Jeeezus, David, you certainly get the little gray cells working. I'm glad you concur with the Jack and the Beanstock myth. The Disney version includes the magic harp/woman - who I figure must represent Helen, AKA the Grail. Mickey is Paris, stealing Helen from a giant, AKA a Titan? Combining the beehive symbol with the Stairway to Heaven, and THEN the German acorn/bell/stargate is really something.

I'm glad y'all liked the Windvinder story. Note it is windmill powered, a three bladed contraption that sits atop a triple (trident) hulled boat, powerfully resonating with Shiva's triple arrow and the Tripura, so poetically described by Ben Fairhall.

Have a happy Easter everyone, and don't mind the fleur de lis!

David Stewart said...

So Michael - then we launch our Starships to greet a Stellar Helen?
Thanks Anadae for the links and for the comment on my avatar - cranked up photoshop last night because i was wondering what the Easter Bunny would really look like!

DRC said...

It was my sophomore year in college. I was on the verge of either a nervous breakdown or finally coming out of the closet. FInally I decided to take a break from my existential crises and escape with a little television in my dorm room. I turned on the tv just at MAKING LOVE made it's network debut.

And they say there are no coincidences.

Devin said...

I remember "Making Love" so well-Of all things I watched the movie with a girl I was "dating" at the time-haha:-) HH did a great job in that movie and you are right -it is one of the first or probably the first were gays were not portrayed as psychos and misfits and the like-I agree with what you said along the lines of -paraphrasing here-"gays are at the center of this" I also have no clue as to why either. Politically it is fascinating to me to watch gay politicos who have actually been "bashers" caught with their pants down! I also think its fascinating about the lunchtime movie crowd in Utah-hahahaha! best to you and Varen as always!! WV=hinghhem -im doin pretty lousy with the word veris today this is another "Ida Know" for me:-)

Devin said...

Ooh-forgot to mention-I am also reading an anthology of early "gay" literature-I had no idea some of the stories that appeared as early as the 1940s-really interesting to see how things and perceptions have changed over the years -it is called "Pulp Friction" edited by Michael Bronski WV=seamonio -seaman? See-man-eye-yo? best as always -sheesh gotta get off damn computer -thanks again for great article and setting off good but also melancholy memories-sometimes I think those are the best ones to have though and the most thought-provoking-hugs!!

Michael said...

DRC - thanks for commenting. That's great. Sophomore means "wise fool", which is meant in a derogatory way, but perhaps true in certain cases?

Devin - isn't it great? We have all these comments from gay boys who saw the movie while identifying as "straight" - but not for long. The destroyer indeed.

Devin said...

had to read this great post again and also went thru the wonderful comments -many very deep and thought provoking (except mine haha) that it generated!!

You are a great guy and I am so happy that you and Var seem to have a stable, loving relationship -this alone proves something for me with regard to people who say "gays cant ever be happy or stay together in a relationship"

I may have mentioned this on your blog before but when I watched "No Way Out" with Kevin Costner (i think in 1987?) at a theatre in Denver with a friend (not Kevin lol) the audience laughed and a few clapped at a line in the movie where this general dude is explaining to Kostner's character that "Oh believe me he is (damned) if you believe the good book" wrt a homosexual character in the movie who was of course evil as fuck too --haha kinda handsome tho-but I think society at large is fortunately beyond this stage now -unless perhaps one is in the Bible Belt or something
it is also amazing how fast time goes -i swear sometimes that the clock is moving double-time since 2008 -especially when i notice things like this post already being over 2 years old --wow -just unbelievable-
all the best to you and Var always!! I hope the both of you are well and happy!!wv=parymph

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