Niet burgelijk correct, wél speels!

‘Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed’ review: An HBO documentary zooms in on the star’s secret life


At first blush, “Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed” seems determined to find every movie phrase uttered by the actor – famously closeted throughout his career as a leading man – that could be construed to have a double meaning hinting at who he really was. Yet the HBO documentary ultimately provides a sobering window into that time, zooming in on Hudson’s screen roles to coyly illustrate what he was experiencing off it.

Although Hudson knew that being outed as a gay man would effectively bring his stardom to a screeching halt, friends and associates describe him as freely living his life (he’s referred to as a “sexual gladiator”), and all that went with it. At the same time, nagging tabloid rumors persisted until his death in 1985, at the age of 59, only a few months after revealing he had AIDS.

Hudson’s health had been an issue before then, a byproduct of chain smoking and heart-bypass surgery in 1981. By the end, he bore little resemblance to the dashing star who had audiences swooning during his heyday.

Inevitably, much of the documentary focuses on the world Hudson kept secret from his adoring fans, and the compromises and sacrifices made to protect his image. That included marrying the secretary of his agent, Henry Willson, who actually fed the tabloids stories about other clients, such as Tab Hunter, in order to chase them away from Hudson, a more valuable asset to him. (Some of this material was dealt with in the Netflix miniseries “Hollywood,” producer Ryan Murphy’s blend of fact and fiction.)

“All That Heaven Allowed” (a title that plays off one of the then-groundbreaking Douglas Sirk films in which Hudson appeared) also makes time to celebrate Hudson’s talent and the limitations that his audience imposed upon him, from the promise of the epic “Giant” to undemanding comedies like “Pillow Talk,” one of three movies he made opposite Doris Day.

As movie roles shriveled, Hudson found a last act in television, in the series “McMillan & Wife” and a final arc on “Dynasty,” where, it’s noted, he hid his diagnosis, later creating considerable angst over an on-screen kiss he had shared with co-star Linda Evans.

Director Stephen Kijak (who has primarily worked on documentaries about the music industry) draws upon interviews with Hudson as well as those close to him, including “Tales of the City” author Armistead Maupin. The film culminates with what Hudson’s death meant to AIDS activism, with Elizabeth Taylor picking up the cause even as the Reagan administration stayed largely silent despite Hudson’s friendship with Nancy Reagan.

While the documentary doesn’t break much new ground, Kijak generally finds the right balance between the salacious elements and Hollywood nostalgia that remain inextricably intertwined in Hudson’s story. And if Hudson’s life, and death, helped advance the cause of Gay rights, the film offers a reminder that those strides came slowly and at a considerable cost.

“Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed” premieres June 28 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

Source link

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

Registreer eerst een account op om uw uw reactie kwijt te kunnen.

Gerelateerde Blogs

Meld je aan voor onze nieuwsbrief.