Your Nominations for the Gender Bender Hall of Fame? [Video]

Your Nominations for the Gender Bender Hall of Fame? [Video]

“What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine;
what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine,” observed
Susan Sontag, who was both a little butch and a lot beautiful.

I remembered this quote today in part because I noticed that “Victor/Victoria,” starring Julie Andrews as the unemployed performer who finds a
work as a male drag queen, was on TCM tonight. And in part because the image it
conjured was watching “Taking Woodstock,” when in walked Vilma, a musclebound
blonde in a candy-pink dress, who resembled Mamie Van Doren with stubble. S/he
spoke in a familiar voice, like honey mixed with molten asphalt. Holy cow! Liev
Schreiber in drag?!? (In his first screen performance, “Mixed Nuts,” he was also
a cross-dresser.) In “Taking Woodstock,” I particularly liked the contrast of
pink frock and Deep Purple voice.

I’d nominate him for cinema’s genderbender Hall of Fame.
Already enshrined? Andrews’ Victor/Victoria, Greta Garbo’s Queen Christina, Katharine Hepburn’s Sylvia Scarlett, Doris Day’s Calamity Jane, Gwyneth Paltrow’s turn in “Shakespeare in Love” and  Hilary Swank’s Brandon Teena in “Boys
Don’t Cry.”

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Comments

Brian

What, no Hong Kong movies? Anita Yuen in SHE'S A WOMAN HE'S A MAN (1994), Brigitte Lin as Asia the Invincible in SWORDSMAN III: THE EAST IS RED (1993), Brigitte Lin as a guy in DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (1977), Ivy Ling Po as a guy in countless films, most notably LOVE ETERNE (aka BUTTERFLY LOVERS, 1963), in which Betty Loh Ti plays his/her female lover, dressed as a man in order to go to school (a story that predates YENTL by centuries). Polly Shang Kuan used to dress as a man in numerous kung fu movies, but my favorite is her portrayal of a boy living on the streets of Hong Kong in BACK ALLEY PRINCES, which ends on an ambiguous note, never quite establishing whether her character really is a boy or is a girl raised as a boy. (The character even masquerades as a girl in one scene.) There are tons more. I did a presentation on gender-bending in Hong Kong cinema at a panel for an anime convention seven years ago.

Luke

What, no Crying Game?

Whoops, spoiler alert.

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