The Love That Dare Not Speak Shakespeare’s Name: New Shakesqueer Cinema

  • Richard Burt


In 1977, Herbert Ross’s film of Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl showed a parodic New York theatrical production of Richard III with Richard Dreyfuss playing a straight actor being directed to play Richard III as a gay character. The production’s director explains his interpretation to the assembled cast as follows:

Richard III was a flaming homosexual. So was Shakespeare for that matter. But the angry mob at the Globe theater wasn’t going to plunk down two shillings to see a bunch of pansies jumping about on the stage. It was society that crippled Richard, not childbirth. I mean read your text. He sent those two cute little boys up to the tower and we never saw them again. Oh, we know why, don’t we? See, what I want to do here is to strip Richard bare, metaphorically. Let’s get rid of the hump. Let’s get rid of the twisted extremities and show him the way he would be today: the queen who wanted to be king.

In 1995, Ian McKellen, an openly gay actor who has fought Britain’s homophobic Clause 28, played Richard straight in Richard Loncraine’s film of Richard III.1


Sexual Identity Queer Theory Popular Film Henry Versus Standing Ovation 
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Copyright information

© Richard Burt 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Burt
    • 1
  1. 1.NorthamptonUSA

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