As I made a large batch of peanut curry one morning, Liz Taylor laughed and talked on the kitchen TV in Reflections in a Golden Eye. I wasn’t paying much attention, although her screen presence drew me to glance at the picture more than a person slicing vegetables should. As she and movie husband Marlon Brando — a Captain at a Southern military base on which they lived — rode horseback in a forest, they stopped in surprise upon seeing a young naked soldier, unaware of them, riding a horse in circles through the trees.
Ah, a young naked soldier riding a horse — there’s so much to think about in that idea.
Later, I looked for the scene on Youtube. I found a snippet of it in the movie trailer, along with a delightful interview with Robert Forster, the actor who played the part and rode the horse.
I also found a video of a nude equestrian jumping.
After all this, I had to read the 1941 novel, written by Carson McCullers (who also wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, published in 1944). I especially had to read Reflections in a Golden Eye after I’d read about the movie on Wikipedia: “His [the Captain’s] secret interest in the free-spirited Williams [the soldier who rides naked] is clear.”
Not a portrayal of a happy homosexual man, nonetheless the book fascinated me. I find it to be a plausible and acceptable portrayal of a particular homosexual career military officer of the 1930s. Once the Captain becomes fixated on an enlisted young soldier, the Captain’s daydreams, always before ones of advancing as an officer, become daydreams of being an enlisted man, living in the barracks with its male camaraderie, rather than being an officer living with a wife in a house alongside other married officers. Continue reading