They weren’t (explicitly) queer, but here’s six cinematic couples we sure wish had been:
Maria Von Trapp and the Baroness (The Sound of Music)
Who knows, maybe Maria left the convent because there was too much temptation (plus those nuns kept going on and on about her ‘problem’). But there’s just a whole lotta hot waiting for her in the Von Trapp compound. And we don’t mean the Captain. Or even that teenaged Nazi postman with the white unmoving hair. No, we’re talking a certain glam aristo-cat, the blonde unflappable Baroness Von Schraeder. What’s not to love? Her hair doesn’t move either, but on her it works. We can tell she knows about sex, because she has a cigarette holder. And think of the rom-com you get when you take a bored socialite stranded in the countryside, and a romping rustic novice nun, and the camp match-making high jinks of Uncle Max, and the cherubic match-making high jinks of seven singing semi-orphans, and the Weimar-ish cool aloofness of a musical ex-naval captain. Imagine the makeover montage as the Baroness initiates Maria into her wardrobe! Think of the climax at the ball! Maria gets sassy, and the Baroness learns how to love. Our movie is called ‘Two Moms and a Capitan’. Or maybe ‘Casa Von Tramp’. Either way, wilkommen!
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
What if it were Robert Redford perched on the front of that bicycle? We think it should be. The unbelievable beauty of the Paul Newman/Robert Redford duo is the real crime at the heart of this lovable gangster flick. And its romantic tropes are so hyper-straight they’re queer. Raindrops are falling on their heads, but that doesn’t mean their eyes will soon be turning red. No, these two are happy just as they are, and in our version they make a getaway from the siege at the shack, and disappear with their improbable beauty into the improbable beauty of the Technicolor hills. Now that’s a Brokeback Mountain we’d really like to see.
Neo and Agent Smith (The Matrix series)
This isn’t even about the leather. There was always a little too much relish in Agent Smith’s appetite for interrogating/shirtless bugging/kung-fu fighting with Neo, something more than the usual frisson of omnipotent-incarnation-of-an-enslaving-mastermind-computer-program meets rogue-hacker-freedom-fighter-messiah. Now, we’re not saying it’ll be easy for these two. We know this is a serious police state, because they wear their sunglasses at night. But sometimes, even in a cruel and wacky world, two men with limited facial range just, you know, find each other. As Smith says to Neo, ‘here I stand because of you…Because of you, I’ve changed.’ Aww.
Javert and Jean Valjean (Les Misérables)
There was always something unusual about Javert’s obsession with Valjean, amiright? We’ve all been there: guy steals bread, skips parole, and we devote our lives to the obsessive quest to bring him to justice. But rarely do we devote ourselves in quite the way Javert did. There’s a kind of Smith-Neo vibe between these two here, and it isn’t just the ambivalence and the solidarity of two Australians who do English accents to pass themselves off as Frenchmen. So, in our version of Les Mis, Javert understands that he’s been living in too rigid a binary between disorder and order, chaos and law! He starts to wear his uniform just for fun! That is to say, he bends a bit in the breeze, and these two set up a wine-making collective in the Dordogne, and all the dissidents from the barricade (they don’t die) move in, and it’s all grape-pressing by day and musical theatre by night. Do you hear the people sing? You bet we do.
Romy and Michelle (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion)
Let’s face it: these two slowdanced at the prom and in our opinion they should slowdance into the Venice Beach sunset forever (preferably wearing matching A-line minidresses handstitched by Michelle, butterfly-shaped glitter clips and strappy silver clogs, and occasionally veering into their justly famous reunion dance). So what if they sort of form a threesome with Alan Cumming at the end? That could totally work. We all know about Alan Cumming.
Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
And it isn’t just gentlemen. For a romantic comedy built around a marriage plot, this one just isn’t that into the marriage plot. It’s a given by now that this film sees Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell accidentally join a gay cruise, where the boys have eyes only for each other. Basically there hadn’t been so much transport-specific homoerotic tension since that time Marilyn took the drag train in Some Like It Hot. But maybe it goes deeper than that. Why does Marilyn/Lorelei sing ‘no! no! no!’ to that gang of tuxedos at the beginning? And what exactly does she mean by ‘diamond’? Is this whole cruise thing a ruse to bring her to that moment when she and Jane Russell finally walk down the aisle together? For Lorelei, bagging a man has always just been a financial transaction, but bagging a brunette might be something else. Maybe this is what she really means when she sings that she and Dorothy are two girls from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. To which we say, I hope so. Bend those rails, baby.