A Piece of the Rock

Rock Hudson’s 1985 death did a lot toward transforming public awareness of AIDS from a mysterious “gay cancer” to an indiscriminate and complex virus that could kill – and out – anyone, including our nation’s biggest Hollywood icons. Elizabeth Taylor, Carol Burnett, and Morgan Fairchild spoke publicly in support of Hudson, their friend and colleague. Taylor later established a foundation to help those infected with HIV that still exists. But we don’t know much about Hudson himself. When it became clear that he was seriously ill, his publicist reported that he had inoperable liver cancer. After the AIDS diagnosis was disclosed, it was said to have been contracted through a blood transfusion rather than sexual contact. Hudson died in seclusion several months later. Since then he has been the subject of at least one documentary, Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, but it’s a narrated montage of film clips does little but illustrate his macho and effeminate sides. Writer/directors Andrew Davies and Andre Schafer go farther in Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger. They include interviews with Hudson’s physicians, two co-stars, a producer, and a personal secretary as well as authors, a film historian, and an entertainment industry journalist. The picture, produced by German company Florianfilm,is part of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival.
Mon., Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m., 2010

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