The Celluloid Closet

Celluloid Closet

The Celluloid Closet

Carter's Notes

This film examines the depiction of homosexuality in cinema. To bring the whole enterprise into a Hollywood context Rob and Jeffrey shot the interviews in a theatrical setting, and the score adopts a traditional "Hollywood" orchestral style. We even recorded on the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City - the same stage where classics such as The Wizard of Oz were recorded. This romantic sound also served to express the often unexpressed feelings which underlie the film clips.

To record this score with a large orchestra on a Hollywood scoring stage, we relied on the kindness of many strangers. The scoring stage, the contractor, and all the crew were very generous, and out of respect for the filmmakers and their subject some musicians even gave donated their paychecks to the project.

Carter Burwell, Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein, Adam Smalley at premiere in San Francisco

Film Info

Produced and Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Carter Burwell

Music Editor: Adam Smalley
Contractor: Sandy DeCrescent
Music Scoring Mixer: Michael Farrow
Recorded and mixed at The Sony Scoring Stage, Los Angeles

Starring Lily Tomlin, Harvey Fierstein, Tony Curtis, Susie Bright, Arthur Laurents, Armistead Maupin, Whoopi Goldberg, Jan Oxenberg, Quentin Crisp, Jay Presson Allen, Gore Vidal, Tom Hanks, Paul Rudnick, Harry Hamlin, Susan Sarandon, John Schlesinger

U.S. Premiere January 30, 1996 (Sundance Film Fesitval)


Edison film of two men dancing (1895)
Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Lily Tomlin


"... Neatly completing the package are Carter Burwell's music and a languorous k.d. lang rendition of the Doris Day evergreen 'Secret Love' on the closing credits." - David Rooney, Variety, Sept. 11, 1995

"Epstein and Friedman don't point any fingers but let the material speak for itself. Their film, beautifully photographed by Nancy Shreiber and scored by Carter Burwell ("Rob Roy"), is eloquent, impassioned and unforgettable." - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 1996.

"This impeccably researched film assembles more than 100 well chosen and aptly used film clips and is graced by a gorgeous original score by Carter Burwell." - Michael Dwyer, The Irish Times, Sept. 25, 1995.