Set in 1957, following the Korean War, gay themed films title Gods and Monsters is based on the last days of the life of film director James Whale. James Whale’s homosexuality is a central theme of the film. Whale lives with his housemaid and carer Hanna (Lynn Redgrave) who vehemently disapproves of his sexual orientation.
After suffering a series of strokes, Whale is tormented by his memories of a poverty based upbringing, his World War II service and the filming of The Bride of Frankenstein. During this time, he befriends his gardener Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser).
The friendship between Whale and Boone is an uneasy one with Boone finding Whale’s talk of his sexual history uncomfortable. Matters come to a head on evening when, following a party that the two have attended, Whale makes a sexual advance on Boone who is furious and attacks Whale. Whale begs Boone to kill him and end his pain. Boon refuses this request and puts Whale to bed before retiring for the night downstairs. In the morning, Boone finds Whale floating dead in the swimming pool, having apparently committed suicide.
The end of the film is set 10 years later with Boon and his son Michael (Jesse James) watching the Bride of Frankenstein. Boone proves to Michael that he knew Whale by producing Whales sketch of the Frankenstein Monster, signed “To Clayton. Friend?”
“One of the most complex and powerful literary scripts in recent times.”
— Bob Stephens, San Francisco Examiner
“It has the most beautiful ending of any American film in years, a coda of reconciliation and remembrance set in a gentle L.A. rain.”
— Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
“Eminently watchable thanks to strong performances from its three leads (McKellen, Redgrave, Fraser).”
— Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
Did You Know?
Clive Barker, the horror novelist, was the film’s executive producer.
It is not actually known whether or not Whale employed a male gardener and novelist Christopher Bram states that Clayton Boon is an entirely fictitious character. Review our Gay Themed Films here