Monday, January 10 at 4:30
* Introduction by Matthew Sturgis, author of Oscar Wilde: A Life and Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography, recorded especially for this screening.
Produced by and starring Alla Nazimova. Based on the play by Oscar Wilde. Costumes by Natacha Rambova, based on illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley.
(1923, Charles Bryant) “1920s art, California style. Despite careful stylization and exquisite photography, this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play boasts a healthy streak of vulgarity of which Wilde, one suspects, would have secretly approved. Sets and costumes, designed by Valentino's wife Natacha Rambova, are fashioned after Beardsley's drawings, but the film's atmosphere comes less from the artist's effete preciousness than from the robust and strapping decadence of '20s Hollywood.” – Time Out. DCP. Approx. 74 min.
Presented with support from the R.G. Rifkind Foundation Endowment for Queer Cinema and the Ada Katz Fund for Literature in Film.
“If, as has been alleged, the cast of Salomé was exclusively gay and lesbian, this fact doesn’t seem to impart any particular weight to to what’s on the screen. What does seem evident, under any circumstances, is a gay aesthetic: the film smells like lavender and incense, courtesy of the synthesized efforts of Wilde, Nazimova, Bryant, Rambova, and Beardsley…the choices made in staging and design seem just too—well, choose the words: hothouse, precious, outré, camp, rarefied—for what might wryly be called ‘conventional heterosexual filmmaking.’ In the case of Salomé, the costumes alone would have been enough. Some movies don’t appear to have a straight bone in their bodies.”
– Richard Barrios, Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall