|Ontkean went on to Twin Peaks, Hamlin to L.A. Law. Jackson, late of Charlie's Angels, went on to Scarecrow and Mrs. King.|
With gay couplings in the news, thanks to the president's endorsement, I've been thinking of one of the first films I encountered which included such relationships.
|I had no idea who Harry Hamlin was when I first saw him in Making Love. Fourteen years later, I worked with him onstage at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. I never told him the importance his film had in my life.|
|Bacharach & David provided the soundtrack for a generation.|
|Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager won the|
Oscar and Grammy for "Arthur's Theme."
"Making Love" was nominated for a Golden
Globe, but lost to "Up Where We Belong," from
An Officer And A Gentleman.
Here, Burt provided lyrics (he was usually a composer) in partnership with his squeeze at the time, Carol Bayer Sager. The song was a fairly big hit for Roberta Flack (in fact, it marked her last appearance in the Top 40 to date), but has not retained the staying power of her other, bigger hits.
|Roberta Flack had bigger hits, but|
none affected me as much.
The song is the theme song from Making Love, which was released in 1982 and which some consider to be a landmark film. I can't quite agree with that, but I will admit that it was a significant step in the evolution of the gay cinema. And it was certainly a landmark for me.
|The poster looks like Ingmar Bergman.|
The actual film was more
|The screen lovers.|
By today's standards, the film is completely inoffensive, but in 1982, Hollywood was scared. The atrocious reaction which Al Pacino's film Cruising had aroused two years earlier made all the majors skittish about gay content, so Making Love is as inoffensive as possible. A couple of scenes, for example, took place in gay bars, and I wondered at the time, where were the Bette Davis Drag Queens?
|1980's Cruising was a crushing indictment of the gay leather scene and garnered massive protests in the gay community.|
|Kate Jackson and Michael Ontkean|
previously played spouses in TV's
Making Love was not a box office success, and its place in gay cinematic history is overshadowed by the next big Hollywood film to place homosexuality center stage, Longtime Companion.
|This early AIDS |
film garnered Oscar love. In
comparison, Making Love seems
like an episode of thirtysomething.
But when I see the film now, it still catches me in the throat. The theme song is pretty languid and definitively soppy, but it reminds me of a pretty significant part of my youth. I recognize the tortured leading character, played by Michael Ontkean, as well as the hedonist played by Harry Hamlin. I was both of them.
|Harry Hamlin was warned not to play gay, that it would halt his career before it really started. Four years later, he was the star of the hottest series on TV, and the most desired man in America.|
President Obama's recognition of gay relationships, plus Burt Bacharach's Gershwin award (and the coincidence that Burt turns 84 Saturday), gives me the opportunity to share a song, and a film, which made an impact on my life. It's a bit grainy, just like my memory: