Queer London on film: Victim (1961), The Killing of Sister George (1968) and Nighthawks (1978)

O'Rourke, Chris (2017) Queer London on film: Victim (1961), The Killing of Sister George (1968) and Nighthawks (1978). In: London on Film. Screening Spaces . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 117-131. ISBN 9783319649795

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Item Type:Book Section
Item Status:Live Archive


This essay explores the cinematic depiction of postwar queer London, focusing on the portrayal of queer bars and clubs in Victim (1961), The Killing of Sister George (1968) and Nighthawks (1978). London’s network of queer commercial spaces emerged before World War II. But representations of these spaces in the media became more prominent in the 1950s and 1960s, when scandals involving high-profile figures and debates over the legal status of men who had sex with men generated new interest in the city’s sexual subcultures. Film responded to this public curiosity by dramatising the lives of queer men and women in the city. It also played a role in shaping an emerging gay and lesbian political agenda. During the 1970s, representations of queer London in film became political talking points, and, by the end of the decade, film was being used by gay and lesbian activists to critique the city’s existing queer subcultures based around commercial venues, and to lay claim to broader visibility in the public sphere.

Keywords:London, British cinema, Queer history, LGBTQ cinema, Nightclubs
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K440 Urban studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:28251
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 16:31

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