The Celluloid Closet is a 1996 American documentary film directed and written by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film is based on the 1981 (revised 1987) book of the same name written by Vito Russo, and on previous lecture and film clip presentations given in person by Russo 1972–82.
Russo researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. It was given a limited release in select theatres, including the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in April 1996, and then shown on cable channel HBO.
The documentary interviews various men and women connected to the Hollywood industry to comment on various film clips and their own personal experiences with the treatment of LGBT characters in film. From the sissy characters, to the censorship of the Hollywood Production Code, the coded gay characters and cruel stereotypes to the changes made in the early 1990s.
Vito Russo wanted his book to be transformed...