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6 Onscreen Duos Who Should Have Been Queer

by Bethany Jones
February 28, 2014 2:50 PM
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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.

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  • Question | March 9, 2014 5:56 AMReply

    It would be cool to have an article that was about the on screen relationships (like the ones below) where there are suggested queer references and insinuations whilst not allowing/willingly offering confirmation of a queer relationship. So Thelma and Louise (which is also arguably heteronormative at the same time)? Kind of subversive, I don't really know. Just seems like there are always these films that feature either 'sisters' or 'men-in-arms/brothers' that is reminiscent of a time when those were secret-yet-no-so-secret-by-words for sexuality.

  • AL | March 9, 2014 10:11 AM

    The link didn't work! But try searching 'Hays'd' or looking through our old posts. They're there and they're wonderful!

  • Alice Lytton | March 9, 2014 10:10 AM

    Great point! Have you seen our 'Decoding the Classics' series? It's on precisely this topic. So far we've covered 'Rebecca', 'Some Like It Hot', 'Rebel Without A Cause' and Streetcar named desire. I particularly love this one

  • Emma | March 3, 2014 4:46 PMReply

    Don't forget Calamity Jane and Katie Brown! 'Once I had a secret love. Who lived within the heart of me. All too soon that secret love, became impatient to be free.. Now! I shout it from the highest hills! Even told the golden daffodils. My heart is now an open door, and my secret love's no secret, any more..' And 'A woman's touch, A woman's touch. The magic of Aladdin couldn't do as much.. Then gosh almighty, all at once the cabin that we knew, becomes a shining castle built for two - me and you! Sooo, never underestimate a woman's touch!'
    I mean, come on! They are so sub-text its practically main text!

  • Dioné | February 28, 2014 5:03 PMReply

    Forgot Thelma & Louise <3

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