Behind the Candelabra

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“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” — Liberace

Year: 2013
Country: USA
Running time: 118 mins
Censor Rating: M - sex scenes, offensive language, drug use

Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Screenplay: Richard LaGravenese. Based on the book by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson
Photography: Peter Andrews
Editor: Mary Ann Bernard
Production designer: Howard Cummings
Costume designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Sound: Gerard Vernice

With: Michael Douglas (Liberace), Matt Damon (Scott Thorson), Dan Aykroyd (Seymour Heller), Scott Bakula (Bob Black), Rob Lowe (Dr Jack Startz), Tom Papa (Ray Arnett), Paul Reiser (Scott’s attorney), Bruce Ramsay (Carlucci), Nicky Katt (Mr Y), Cheyenne Jackson (Billy Leatherwood), Debbie Reynolds (Frances Liberace), Mike O’Malley (Tracy Schnelker)

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2013

Michael Douglas becomes a glittering colossus of kitsch as Liberace, the most flamboyantly gay, closeted entertainer in the world, while Matt Damon is achingly right as the hunk, 40 years his junior, who became his lover and companion in the late 70s. The film was reputedly turned down by countless movie executives before being funded by HBO for TV, but Steven Soderbergh clearly intended it to be seen on a giant screen. We are delighted to oblige.

“As fabulous as it should be and not a jot more or less, Behind the Candelabra is a showbiz biopic about, in no particular order, gender, sex, power, professionalism, performance, denial, disavowal, spectatorship, and the closet. Adapted from Scott Thorson’s tell-all book about his affair with Liberace… the movie marries the stringent style and purposeful intelligence of its director/cinematographer/editor with the world of a performer defined by his excess. The result is irresistibly entertaining.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment

“Behind the Candelabra… earns its place in the Cannes competition roster not just because it’s smart and kitschy and fun and dark, or because it happens to be Steven Soderbergh’s official ‘last’ film before his retirement. It earns its place because the film is an artfully made and creepily moving love story… There’s no denying that Behind the Candelabra emerges from the tabloid-gossip school of celebrity biopic… It’s a voyeur’s delight. But it’s also a disarmingly sincere tribute to Liberace’s high-camp theatrical genius, and to the fact that flawed love is still love.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly