HBO Films continue to impress with this latest trailer for upcoming feature Behind The Candelabra directed by Stephen Soderburgh. The film stars Michael Douglas as Liberace, the flamboyant pianist beloved by the American public for decades, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, Liberace’s chauffeur, lover and friend who sued him for palimony at the end of their relationship. The film is based on Thorson’s book which details their relationship, Liberace’s love of excess and extreme ambition, and how Liberace’s denial of his homosexuality made him a deeply unhappy man.
When I visited Las Vegas in 1999 with my Dad, we went to the Liberace Museum, one of the very few cultural experiences to be had in Vegas. It was chock full of his extravagant costumes and jewellery – velvet hotpants, a mink cape weighing ten stone, a pink feathered coat, a suit with battery powered lights and flames made of sequins, and high heeled custom made boots were some of the more unforgettable items. There were customised cars (including a hybrid of the back end of a VW Beetle with the front end of a Rolls Royce), bejewelled pianos, and the largest rhinestone in the world. Honestly, having walked through it, you wonder how anyone could ever have doubted he was gay. No straight man cares that much about jewellery. The museum closed in 2010 but apparently there are plans to reopen a version of it, entitled The Liberace Experience, in 2014.
The film premiers on HBO in the US on May 26th. Who knows if it will get a release here or if we’ll have to wait for it to be available on DVD but it looks like one to watch.