Milk Played a Cop in Downey Sr Film;
Poles Not Marketing 'Milk' as Gay
For an earlier generation of film buffs such as myself, the name Robert Downey is synonymous with "Putney Swope," a wicked satire of the advertising world in which a black executive is put in charge of an ad agency. But for younger movie lovers, the name is only attached Downey's son, star of "Iron Man" and "Tropic Thunder."
Downey, Sr, is getting the retrospective treatment this weekend here in San Francisco and the Chronicle interviewed the director, who divulged a highly amusing tidbit about Harvey Milk's (very) cameo appearance in one of his flicks. From the Chron:
On the phone with a reporter from San Francisco, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. was taking a trip down memory lane - of the city he first visited in the 1950s while in the Navy, and of the Harvey Milk he knew in the days when the future Mayor of Castro Street was working on Wall Street.
"I remember this vividly: We were going down the street with Tom O'Horgan (Milk's friend and a composer for Downey's films)," Downey said. "And Harvey said, 'You guys go ahead. I'll catch up.' So I looked back ... and he was helping a bum. Givin' him some money and helping the guy to his feet. That was it. That was who he was." ...
In tonight's zany double feature, a man undergoes a breakdown, has a hysterectomy, discovers hundreds of dollars growing inside his body and carries on a passionate affair with his mother in "Chafed Elbows" (1966, in which Milk appears as, believe it or not, a cop, "for like 2 seconds," Downey said). In 1964's "Babo 73," the president of the United States deals with a communist plot to curtail the birthrate of the United States by distributing condoms. One New York critic said the film looked like it was shot on Scotch tape ...
Who knew before Gus Van Sant's biopic that Milk had an early brush with the cinema?
In other Milk related news, my friend Lukasz Palucki writes from Poland this week that "Milk" is not being marketed as gay movie. Lukasz says from Warsaw:
Three times I email BestFilm distributor and call them and please to change description of this film. On there website ( click here ) they wrote that MILK is film about visioner who died in 1978 and he was amazing man (and this is all). They did not use word "gay" or "homosexual". They did not inform that MILK is film about gay man or gay people at all. Results: now whole polish internet is full of stupid informations like here at this site.
I even call Tomasz Raczek (femous polish film critic and open gay person, well respected in Poland) he saw this film and he said it is FANTASTIC ! He spoke with BestFilm and they confirm they dont want to cooperate with gay media (ads) but they are not homophobic. But they did not change desciption !
Finally I was very angry...
I called director of marketing dept in BestFilm (Ms Magorzata Dworakowska) and I said:
- Ms Dworakowska, please change this descritpion. It looks bad. Like you afraid to write that this film is about gay activist ! We (lgbt media) can not cooperate with homophobic company. Please put even one word "gay" and it will be ok !
and she answer:
- Ms Palucki, we want change subscription of this film on our website. This is Poland, conservative country. We dont want to have problems.
Me: I can not belive what you have said. i thought your company want to earn money on this film. I thought your company sell films. Even if somebody will attack this movie it will be better for audience (free promotion). Why You want to hide information about film you have to promote ?!?
Ms Dworakowska: This is not Brokeback Mountain, it want be hit
Me: This will be probobly better than Brokeback Mountain, I really dont understand you. This is wird...
What exactly does the Polish distributor's site say about the film, titled "Obywatel Milk," or "Citizen Milk," as translated into English?
When in 1978 was murdered Harvey Milk, the world has lost one of the greatest visionaries and leaders fighting for justice.
Winner of many awards, Gus Van Sant, with Sean Penn and unparalleled galaxy of stars in minor roles represent the history of life of this unusual man.
Good for Lukasz for serving as a one-man direct action gay advocate. He's right to push the Polish distributor to stress the central theme of gayness of "Obywatel Milk" and give more visibility to gay movies. We need more activist like Lukasz, making complaints to media companies the world over.