The essay by Reed Johnson with a sub-headline of ...."Gunsels, victims, the sex-obsessed tricks. Hollywood has long been drawn to a limited range of gay 'types,' but with Milk Sean Penn embodies a far different--and admirable---leading man."
The article goes on to mention the different ways gays were portrayed in different movies and under CRUISING (a 1980 film directed by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino) Johnson writes...."Partly under pressure from the bluenoses administering the Hays Code, Hollywood went back in the closet during the Eisenhower presidency and more or less stayed there until the late 1960's (although Sal Mineo and a few others managed to slip out once in a while.) Coyness and euphemism were part of the day, with the likes of Rock Hudson and Randolph Scott impersonating big-screen macho men."
Was Scott gay as long rumored? (Taylor Hackford alluded to this a bit in his commentary on one of the discs in the Budd Boetticher box set.) I don't know and I don't give a tinker's damn one way or the other. Scott made some of the greatest westerns ever and over the years several of them have grown in stature with me and now appear on my "all-time favorite movies" list. The reason I say "over the years" is that when I was a kid I didn't care for Scott or his westerns that much....they were too adult, I suppose. Even in my 20's thru my late 40's I enjoyed some of his oaters but still didn't care for him that much....but when I hit my 50's I suddenly started really appreciating him, his work and his movies. Maybe I just aged into appreciating them and him.....like he gracefully aged in his work.
The Statler Brothers have a great song called WHERE HAVE YOU GONE RANDOLPH SCOTT and the lyrics go something like this.....and are a bit ironic in parts.
Everybody knows when you go to the show you can't take the kids along.
You've gotta read the paper and know the code of PG and R and X.
And you gotta know what the movie's about before you go.
Tex Ritter's gone and Disney's dead and the screen is filled with sex .
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott ridin' the range alone ?
Whatever happened to Gene and Tex and Roy and Rex , The durango Kid?
Oh whatever happened to Randolph Scott, his horse plain as could be?
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the best of me.
Everybody's tryin' to make a comment about our doubts and fears.
True Grit's the only movie I've really understood in years.
You gotta take your analyst along to see if it's fit to see.
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott happened to the industry.
Whatever happened to Johnny Mack Brown and Alan Rocky Lane?
Whatever happened to Lash LaRue? I'd love to see them again.
Whatever happened to Smiley Burnette, Tim Holt and Gene Autry?
Whatver happened to all of them has happened to the best of me.
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the industry.