30 April 2012

Movie Review: The Gay Deceivers

I have no idea how I could have gone so long and not have watched this movie. Considering it was produced 43 years ago, I was impressed by the ambivalent look at homosexuality and the ambiguous homophobia.

Danny and Elliot are two friends (Danny is a rich white boy while Elliot is a poor white boy who works at Danny's father's country club and sleeps with all of the wives!) who are trying to dodge the military draft (to go to Vietnam for the US war then on-going). They are able to be determined ineligible because of homosexuality. However, they discover that the Army is investigating their lifestyle to ensure they aren't lying about their homosexuality. They move into a gay neighborhood and try to remake their lifestyle while simultaneously trying to minimize damage to their heterosexual relationships since they don't tell anyone how they got out of the draft.


SPOILER ALERT

It turns out that the officer who determined them ineligible and who is the lead investigator is also gay, sleeping with their next door neighbor and friends with everyone in the gay neighborhood. When the deception starts to have real negative impacts on Danny and Eliot, they go to the Army to confess only to learn that the officer and his staff are actually trying to keep straight people out of the Army and refuse to change the ineligible determination.

There are negative stereotypes of gays, but at the same time, there seems to be a critical edge to those stereotypes by showing the hurt the gay characters feel at being dismissed and making those enforcing the stereotypes look like the bad guys.

Definitely worth the watch although it lacks what I would consider to be a modern normative gay ending.

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