Based on the book by Vito Russo, this 1995 Documentary explores the history of Hollywood's portrayal of gay characters through the ages.
This film contains/discusses examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Distillation: The documentary is a worthy adaptation of the Vito Russo book, managing to include and expand on many of the ideas from the book. The film also benefits from the new medium, being able to show scenes that Russo could only describe.
- Bury Your Gays: Discussed at some length, culminating in a montage of homosexual character deaths in classic movies.
- But Not Too Gay: Discussed, especially in the case of Philadelphia, where Tom Hanks defends the use of this trope by explaining that they had to edit out more explicitly intimate scenes between the main couple because the studio refused to release it otherwise.
- Camp Gay: And his less explicitly gay brother, The Sissy. Discussed in depth, with several talking heads having different opinions of the worth of such characters. (Harvey Fierstein likes them: "Visibility at all costs!")
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Including some absolutely hilarious instances, like Stephen Boyd playing Messala as being Ben-Hur's former lover, without telling Charlton Heston.
- Lesbian Vampire: Dracula's Daughter gets a detailed examination.
- N-Word Privileges: It is mentioned how the N-word in film is usually only used between black characters or to set a character up as a villain, but the F word is quite often used in a relaxed way by straight characters, often to deny being gay.