Oct 26, 2013

Victor McLaglen: Boxer turned Silent Movie Boyfriend

Victor McLaglen was a British boxer who retired in 1920, moved to Hollywood, and became a popular character actor, mostly in parts that emphasized his towering height and bulging muscles: Hercules, Strong Boy, Biff Williams, Bull Stanley, Big Steve Andrews, Big Ben Wheeler

 He often appeared in movies directed by the homophobic John Ford, costarring with the homophobic John Wayne.

Yet the gay subtexts were everywhere.

1. The Unholy Three (1925). Three circus performers, a strong man, midget, and transvestite, form a "queer" criminal family.

2. Beau Geste (1926).  Buddy-bonding in the French Foreign Legion.

3. The Cock-Eyed World (1929).  Two marines (Victor, Edmund Lowe) compete over girls in Russia, Brooklyn, and Latin America.

4. The Lost Patrol (1934).  Soldiers lost in Mesopotamia during World War I take their shirts off while trying to find their way back home.

5. The Great Hotel Murder (1935).  Victor and Edmund Lowe are back, now novelist and detective competing to see who can solve a murder.

6. South of Pago Pago (1940).  Victor and Jon Hall take their shirts off while competing over a girl in the South Pacific.

7. The Quiet Man (1952).  Victor plays an Irishman who doesn't like the idea of American John Wayne marrying his sister, so they fight, tearing up the town, and end up buddies.

8. The Abductors (1957). Victor and buddy Gavin Muir plot to steal the remains of Abraham Lincoln.  No nudity, but by this point he's 69 years old.

Victor was married 3 times, but if you look closely at his personal life, you can find any number of provocatively intimate same-sex friendships.

1 comment:

  1. I always loved him in "Gunga Din" with Cary Grant & Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. The technical plot is about British soldiers trying to stop Thuggee Indians from killing people .... the actual plot? Fairbanks is going to leave their triad relationship to marry a woman (bowing to heterosexist society expectations) and Victor & Cary have to stop him. And make him realize that he's really in love with them. We get beefcake, hurt!Cary Grant (whipping) and lots of obvious gay OT3.


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