POSTPONED - Taming the Lion

Critics

LemonMeter

Reviews: 2

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Taming the Lion is suggested by true events. William Haines acted in 50 films between 1922 and 1934 and was the number one box-office draw at the end of the silent era. He was also the first openly gay movie star, a fact that the MGM studio attempted to conceal, fearing that Haines’ gayness would prove to be box-office poison.

Studio executives Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg attempt to force Haines to marry a woman, to please the fans. But Haines is devoted to his male lover, Jimmie Shields. Mayer sends Haines’ best female friend, Joan Crawford, to try and persuade Haines to marry a woman.

Mayer gives Haines an ultimatum: marry a woman and continue to be a movie idol, or turn his back on his movie career and lose everything so that he can stay with Jimmie.

What will Haines do?
Written by Jack Rushen. Directed by Melanie MacQueen.

Reviews

Avatar

Melanie Macqueen directs this drama as an interesting stage work. It contains as much conflict and pathos as one would see in any picture released by Metro in the 30’s. This time, its stakes would be for real!

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Taming the Lion is a well-spent entertaining evening, the re-creation of a bygone, not always so glamorous Hollywood. (Actually, MGM was based in Culver City.) Accounts of salacious evenings Billie and Jimmie spend at the YMCA, or in drag clubs and back rooms of the era, or in hotel rooms with sailors, remind us that same-gender thrills and cross-dressing urges are hardly new.

Yet what is an author to do when the end is a foredrawn absence of suspense? Rushen tries to simulate the speech and mindsets of his characters, principally the antagonists Haines and Mayer, but his writing struck me as largely utilitarian and episodic. The many scene changes unnecessarily slowed down by recordings of contemporary songs keep the action from moving gamely ahead. It might have been more exciting pared down to an extended one-act format. Lost in all the exposition is a lyrical voice that might have probed a little more deeply into the psyches of these men and women, at the same time lifting them up and out of the prosaic to reveal the passions that set these people apart. Sadly, the stiffness of the writing is unavoidably reflected in the acting.

sweet-sour - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Melanie Macqueen directs this drama as an interesting stage work. It contains as much conflict and pathos as one would see in any picture released by Metro in the 30’s. This time, its stakes would be for real!

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Taming the Lion is a well-spent entertaining evening, the re-creation of a bygone, not always so glamorous Hollywood. (Actually, MGM was based in Culver City.) Accounts of salacious evenings Billie and Jimmie spend at the YMCA, or in drag clubs and back rooms of the era, or in hotel rooms with sailors, remind us that same-gender thrills and cross-dressing urges are hardly new.

Yet what is an author to do when the end is a foredrawn absence of suspense? Rushen tries to simulate the speech and mindsets of his characters, principally the antagonists Haines and Mayer, but his writing struck me as largely utilitarian and episodic. The many scene changes unnecessarily slowed down by recordings of contemporary songs keep the action from moving gamely ahead. It might have been more exciting pared down to an extended one-act format. Lost in all the exposition is a lyrical voice that might have probed a little more deeply into the psyches of these men and women, at the same time lifting them up and out of the prosaic to reveal the passions that set these people apart. Sadly, the stiffness of the writing is unavoidably reflected in the acting.

sweet-sour - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review