Book Archive

Brief Encounters: Lesbians and Gays in British Cinema 1930-1971. Stephen Bourne

Despite tight censorship, British cinema has allowed the odd queer reference to slip past. Stephen Bourne's chronological survey of queer references in British cinema tries to catalogue these. It's the sort of book you can dip in and out of as you fancy. You can only really judge a book like this by comparing an entry to a film so see my review of Soldiers of the King.

I have minor niggles with it. At one point a film is criticised for coding a character as gay because he has a domineering mother and yet this sort of coding is used by the author for other films. But then a book like this is always going to want it both ways.

The best part of the book is the appendix which has a collection of letters by gay men telling of their response to the release of Victim (1961). It's moving and a fascinating reminder of what life was like before legalisation. It's followed by the critics' reactions to the film, most of which miss the point entirely.

Brief Encounters

Pub: Cassell


Price: 14.99 $21.95 (paperback)    

Brief Encounters: available at Amazon UK

Brief Encounters: available at Amazon US