July-August, 2017: The British Film Institute are hosting a two-month season of LGBT+ cinema to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act.
Gross Indecency: Queer Lives Before and After the ’67 Act will run throughout July and August and will look at the decade before and after homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales.
Starting with the Wolfenden Report in 1957 and going through to the onset of the AIDS crisis in 1977, it will shine a spotlight on the LGBT+ community during that time.
Part of the season will include Queerama, which is a documentary created using historical footage held by the BFI National Archive.
It will trace gay life in Britain from the end of the First World War and throughout the 20th Century, backed by a soundtrack including John Grant, Goldfrapp and Hercules & Love Affair.
There will also be special previews of BBC documentary The People’s History of LGBT+, as well as new drama The Man in the Orange Shirt.
The first part of the season – which will run through July – will focus on the run-up to the Sexual Offences Act, with cinematic milestone Victim (1961) being one of the main draws.
It will show alongside one of the UK’s earliest surviving gay TV dramas, South, which starred PETER WYNGARDE as Lieutenant Jan Wicziewsky.
PETER took part in a special Q&A after a screening of the drama on 3rd July.
But the season was launched with a screening of On Trial: Oscar Wilde (Granada Television, 1960), also starring PETER, which is a dramatic retelling of one of the most gripping legal trials in British queer history.
Other screenings include Consenting Adults 1. The Men and Consenting Adults 2. The Women (BBC, 1967), The World Ten Times Over (Wolf Rilla, 1963) and a story of ‘Romeo and Romeo in the south London suburbs’ The Leather Boys (Sidney J Furie, 1964).For the second part of the season in August – which focuses on the decade after the Sexual Offences Act was passed – The Killing of Sister George (Robert Aldrich, 1968) and Staircase (Stanley Donen, 1969) will be shown, along with Sunday Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger, 1971).
There will be a drag double-bill of What’s a Girl Like You… (LWT, 1969) and Black Cap Drag (Dick Benner, 1969), while audiences will also get see television’s first gay kiss between Ian McKellen and James Laurenson in the BBC’s broadcast of the Prospect Theatre Company production of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (BBC, 1970).
The newly remastered The Naked Civil Servant (Thames TV, 1975) starring the late John Hurt will also be screened.
Also in August, the BFI will host the Joe Orton season, which will highlight some of the witty playwright’s finest work, including the film version of Loot (1970), The Ruffian on the Stair (ITV, 1973), and his last great masterpiece What the Butler Saw (BBC, 1985).
And if that wasn’t enough, the BFI are also launching LGBT Britain On Film, which is an online collection of over 50 newly digitised film and television titles.
It will be made accessible to UK audiences via the BFI Player, with many of the titles free to view.
“PETER WYNGARDE was mobbed after our screening of SOUTH
@BFI tonight. What a treat to have him with us as we kick off Gross Indecency”
Simon McCallum – Curator, The British Film Institute
The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/