Sylvia Scarlett

Jenni Olson is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video and The Queer Movie Poster Book. She is also the creator of Homo Promo (1993), a program of vintage queer movie trailers, and the feature film The Joy of Life (2006).

Sylvia Scarlett reveals the interesting fact that Katharine Hepburn is better looking as a boy than as a woman,” commented Time magazine. Indeed, as Hepburn bounds about the screen in cropped hair and trousers as “Sylvester,” one character after another falls for her coltish charms. Sylvester runs from the kisses of the flirtatious Dennie Moore into the cabin of the bare-chested cockney con artist Cary Grant, who insists that Sylvester would make a “proper little hot water bottle” for the cold night ahead. As Hepburn hangs upside down in a bohemian painter's studio (“inverted,” as it were), the artist wonders aloud “what it is that gives me a queer feeling when I look at you.” The director, George Cukor-one of the “rival queens of Hollywood”-didn't need to wonder.

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