Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Films and Filming Magazine


Films and Filming which ran from 1954-1990 never made this claim for itself but no one can be in any doubt that this was a magazine for gay men when, for much of it's time such things were either illegal or in their infancy. Under the proprietorship of Philip Dosse and the editorship of Robin Bean (and others), the covers and coverage became more and more gay until it was barely possible to claim that these are even 'coded' for the eye of the closet homosexual of the day. No other supposedly mainstream magazine was going to give front cover status to Jarman's Jubilee and Sebastiane or Pink Narcissus. But they also managed to find an 'angle' on some otherwise unpromising titles; you might be wondering what little known independent gay film is illustrated  on the front of April 1973 (below), in fact this was the still chosen to illustrate Zeffirelli's Brother Sun Sister Moon. Full frontal male nudity was not unknown in a way that wouldn't be tolerated today even.

There is a very helpful paper on the history of Films and Filming by Maruo Giori at acedemia.edu, you have to jump through a few hoops to download it but it's worth it.

I rather liked this description of Robin Bean from someone who knew him a little on an online forum about the magazine "very mysterious, dressed in black, a cloak even, tended to and fawned over by various young men."












7 comments:

Paul Brownsey said...

I took F&F from about 1959 to 1970. Its gay ambience was obvious even then. I am pretty sure I learned the modern meaning of "gay" by puzzling about all those adverts that read something like, "Gay bachelor seeks another for friendship." There was even one in which a motorcyclist--I can't remember whether he characterised himself as gay or not--sought another "to take deliveries".

The editor in those days was Peter Baker. I remember a review of Sodom and Gomorrah headed "Peter Baker is invited to join the Sodomites". Another review mentioned Gide's Corydon as depicting gay relationships as perfectly natural and capable of being lived with depth and integrity; this resonated with me as contrasted with all the phrases about a "psychosexual disorder", etc, which were all I could find in the encyclopaedias and medical dictionaries I anxiously looked up.

Yes, F&F played an important part in my life.

Paul Brownsey said...

I took F&F from about 1959 to 1970. Its gay ambience was obvious even then. I am pretty sure I learned the modern meaning of "gay" by puzzling about all those adverts that read something like, "Gay bachelor seeks another for friendship." There was even one in which a motorcyclist--I can't remember whether he characterised himself as gay or not--sought another "to take deliveries".

The editor in those days was Peter Baker. I remember a review of Sodom and Gomorrah headed "Peter Baker is invited to join the Sodomites". Another review mentioned Gide's Corydon as depicting gay relationships as perfectly natural and capable of being lived with depth and integrity; this resonated with me as contrasted with all the phrases about a "psychosexual disorder", etc, which were all I could find in the encyclopaedias and medical dictionaries I anxiously looked up.

Yes, F&F played an important part in my life.

Cosmo said...

Films and Filming was the modern equivalent of the The Studio magazine in terms of its homosexual undercurrent. It always managed to find and print the most homoerotic film still from even the straightest films! Only the advent of After Dark magazine in America out did it in that regard.

Speaking of films: here's a gem that resembles a Cleveland Street Scandal casting call: https://vimeo.com/32979100

Paul Brownsey said...

PS: I seem to remember an advert for F&F around 1960 saying it was the film magazine with the emphasis on men. (Picturegoer and Picture Show, by contrast, tended to have a bikini'd starlet on their covers.) Knowing I read it, a friend who saw this advert challenged me by saying it sounded like "a homo magazine". I denied any such thing, though by that time I was beginning to figure out that it was.

Callum said...

Paul and Cosmo,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I'm glad they pressed the nostalgia button. There is plenty inside the covers which might yet find its way onto the blog as well.

As it happened, two days after finding the bundle illustrated here, I was in a different bookshop in a different county and low and behold, a box of Film and Filming, so there is more to come for sure.

CJ

Michael O'Sullivan said...

Here's another F&F regular. I love the early 60s issues, and recently got the first 100 issues on ebay. I started getting it in 1962 when I was 16, and had my own personal ad in it in 1963 when I was 17, and got replies from all over the world, including USA, Malta, Australia and UK, one of them is still my oldest friend now and we are in regular contact (he is now in San Francisco). I loved its coverage of European and world cinema and of course all those pictures. Those later covers would be unthinkable now.
I even worked there for a year in the mid 70s, and knew Philip Dosse well, h was quite an eccentric, but we never got to meet Robin Bean, though I still have correspondence from him and did some reviews for him. It was all run very cheaply but the magazines were terrific. It was all privately run, whereas now a magazine like "Sight & Sound" is funded by the BFI. I still have all the 50s and 60s F&Fs. It was declining in the 70s and getting more explicit, but if you can find the 50s and 60s issues they are terrific. A lot are still on ebay.
There is a good feature on it too (to which I contributed) in issue 2 of 'LITTLE JOE' magazine. There is a lot on it on my own blog (osullivan60.blogspot.co.uk at Films & Filming' label).

Callum said...

Hi Michael,

Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your memories. Let me return the favour by bigging up that link to your blog a bit under the Films and Filming tag.

http://osullivan60.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Films%20and%20Filming

Thank

CJ

 
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