This is not that kind of movie.
Anchors Aweigh. Oh, Anchors Aweigh. I first realized we were watching something truly stupendously special during the scene where Clarence is sitting in a rocking chair, staring happily at Joe's underwear-clad ass - said ass having been carefully positioned outside the covers by someone who surely had some good reason for it - as Joe sleeps. Clarence also glances from time to time at the clock, which shows it's after one; Joe had a date at twelve. Clarence is making sure he misses it.
There is a name for that, Clarence. It is cockblocking, and I don't care if you're a naïve choirboy from Brooklyn (no, I am not kidding), dude, you don't get a pass. In all honesty, there's no pass in the world that could put an innocent interpretation on that maneuver.
The rest of the scene - including the crotch-cam shot, as Clarence lies on his back with his legs in the air, while Joe tells him he will have to be Joe's slave forever (really not kidding) - follows logically from that opening, stopping just short of the actual assfucking.
Although you can tell it happens.
But I don't want you to think this review is a recommendation, because here's the thing: to get to the undeniably slashy bits - and they aren't so much "bits" as "any scene in which Clarence and Joe are alone together" - you have to suffer through the rest of the movie, which is mostly so skeevy it made my skin try to crawl off my body.
Like, there's a scene where a policeman brings a runaway kid home in the company of two just-off-the-boat Navy sailors he picked up off the street. (Don't ask.) The kid's guardian, Aunt Susie, isn't home, so the policeman leaves him there with the two sailors, whose names he doesn't even know. He just knows they have uniforms. Later, when Aunt Susie gets home, she reacts like this is all perfectly normal and aboveboard. Who doesn't occasionally come home late from work to find her eight-year-old nephew alone with two random sailors? Gosh. Happens all the time! The obvious thing to do is make these strange men some coffee!
Although the problem there may simply be that Aunt Susie has some kind of inability to express or feel emotions of any kind. She may in fact be a robot. Because when those same two sailors ruin a date - and her only chance at a job she badly wants, and no, 1945 Hollywood, that isn't at ALL revolting! - by announcing, in song, that she's had sex with the entire US Navy, her reaction is to say, "I know you didn't mean it." Then I think she offers them coffee again. I, myself, would have handled things differently. Especially if I'd been armed with hot coffee.
Or it may be that Aunt Susie actually was hoping they would take her nephew and never bring him back. I could understand. Donald is the most annoying child I have ever beheld. And kids don't normally annoy me. But this kid - oh my fucking god. I just wanted to shriek, "I hate you! SHUT UP! I HATE YOU!" every time he opened his mouth. (I managed to hold it in two times out of every three, though.) He's the kind of kid who you know, you know played on his "Aw, shucks, I'm so adorable" shtick to get away with setting fire to buildings and eating his classmates' still-beating hearts. There was visible evil in his gaze; he somehow managed to reside in the uncanny valley even though he was, as far as we could tell, human. (Best Beloved was actively rooting for his horrible death until I revealed that he was played by Dean Stockwell, who also starred in a 1980s TV series called Quantum Leap. BB has an abiding love for Quantum Leap and will hear no wrong of it or of the people who starred in it. Also, she assures me Stockwell was considerably less irritating in that. So she's prepared to forgive him. I still haven't.)
Here's how much the non-gay parts of this movie bothered me:
- You know how there are editors for most movies, to take out the unnecessary parts? They were all working on war propaganda, apparently, because this movie has scenes that start an inexplicably long time before anything actually happens, and also random interludes where Jose Iturbi plays lengthy pieces in their entirety, apparently on the "We might as well get our money's worth" principle. This movie is 143 minutes long and at least 40 of those minutes are padding. But I loved the padding, because when Jose was playing, Donald wasn't talking, and Joe and Clarence weren't gaily conspiring to ruin some poor woman's life.
- I knew one thing going into this movie. I knew eventually Gene Kelly would dance with a mouse. I spent the first hour pinning my hopes on this, hoping it would be awesome, hoping it would at least partially redeem the skeeviness, and, above all, hoping it would be long. When the mouse dancing was over - and it was not nearly long enough, let me tell you - I was honestly downcast. Usually I can find something better to do with my evenings than wish a mouse would come back for an encore.
Yes. I am not kidding. Clarence invited himself along for a threesome. Keep in mind that Clarence is technically the naïve sailor.
At one point, Joe takes Aunt Susie out for a Coke - and he calls her Aunt Susie, which, okay, he's older than she is and also not her nephew, but I could deal with it, given that for most of the movie he's not supposed to be her love interest (although I'm just going to spoil you right now and tell you he ends up with her), except that Clarence, who is supposed to be her love interest, calls her Aunt SUSAN. They'll be on a date (although it's rare that they actually go on a date alone, because mostly they drag Joe along, probably because they know if they don't he will - this is true - stand outside the restaurant pining) and Clarence will be trying to make time with a woman he calls Aunt Susan. It's horrible.
Anyway, Joe and Aunt Susie have this conversation:
"You're sort of Clarence's guardian angel, aren't you? You're always with him, or talking about him. Why?" AUNT SUSIE, I HAVE AN ANSWER. IT INVOLVES COCKSUCKING.
Joe thinks about and then says, no shit, "I figured he needed a girl." But we were at sea, so I figured I was the next best thing - I mean, he doesn't say it, but it's all right there.
She asks him various things, mostly along the lines of, "But what do you need, Joe?"
And he says, "I don't know, Aunt Susie. Right now, I'm a little confused about what I like." The slash is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE, people.
The thing is, we already knew Joe was a little confused about what he liked (Clarence, on the other hand, seems not at all confused; he's comfortable with his desire for Joe's ass), because much earlier, while Clarence is asking Joe for a threesome and Joe is trying to gently suggest that maybe he could find, you know, a girl, there's a scene where Joe offers to pretend to be the girl, so that Clarence can get in some practice.
I've read that story, too. It ends in assfucking. But every non-skeevy part of this movie seems to lead, obviously and clearly, to assfucking. It's like two fangirls went back in time and got stuck there, and ended up making this movie as a message to the future.
"How will they know we're stuck?" Fangirl A asked Fangirl B.
"Simple. We'll just include every slash cliché ever invented in one single movie. They'll realize it can't be anything but girls from the future, and they'll come back and get us."
And I, for one, have totally gotten the message. We need to mount an expedition to find those women and get them back here. I can't take watching another movie like this one. This has taken years off my life.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.