›› The Colour of His Hair ‹‹

a short film by Sam Ashby.

2017 | 23 mins | UK.

the reality of living life when homosexuality was still a criminal offence.

Dave says:

Following the publication of The Wolfenden Report in 1957 that recommended that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence" and the lack of any impetus from the Government of the day to act upon its findings, a group of "cultural luminaries" alongside some broad-minded Members of Parliament established the Homosexual Law Reform Society the following year, so as to campaign for the implementation of the report's recommendations. That they would eventually succeed with the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales, through the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, is now part of LGBT+ history and yet the work undertaken by this steadfast group of individuals has been largely overlooked until now, that is.

For this part drama, part documentary short film from director Sam Ashby turns the spotlight firmly on their sterling efforts and in particular that of an unrealized twenty-six page film outline written in 1964 by Elizabeth Montagu; half-sister of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu that acutely reflected "the personal and social problems affecting homosexuals" in an era in which those of gay inclination were in constant fear of assault, entrapment, blackmail, let alone the never-ending dread of the boys in blue knocking at the door; day or night.

Yet with all this going for it, and in spite of actors Sean Hart and Josh O'Connor of The Durrells, The Crown and indeed God's Own Country fame perfectly cast as the loving couple of the piece, let alone exclusive access to the revealing and in more ways than one, vaults of The Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive, the result is somehow a soulless experience. This however is not to diminish in any way the laudable work undertaken by the Homosexual Law Reform Society; far from it. Nor that of the attention to period detail of the scripted sequences. But with typeset styled credits that are so faint you can barely read them and a narrative that seemingly finds it different to seamlessly merge the two differing mediums together, you're left with home movie footage of the era, together with the telling words of gay activist John Alcock to speak of the reality of living life when homosexuality was still a criminal offence.

That many a film has walked similar ground, including the acclaimed 2017 Fergus O'Brien feature Against the Law, amongst others, goes without saying. Sadly this short, whilst a worthy contribution to LGBT+ cinema, frankly does not have the same degree of emotional impact as other works of this nature, even if its raw honesty in detailing the times, that were, deserves a round of applause in itself. Say no more.

›› available as part of the Peccadillo Pictures shorts compilation BOYS ON FILM #18 - Heros.
›› posted: Monday, 13th September, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the photographic erect monty. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

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