Friday, August 16, 2013

The Christine Jorgensen Story

In the capsule review in his Movie and Video Guide, Leonard Maltin’s chief complaint about 1970’s The Christine Jorgensen Story is that the lead actor, John Hansen, looks more feminine as George Jorgensen and more masculine after the sex-change that transformed him into the famous Christine. As George, Hansen is fey and wispy. He’s mistaken for a homosexual by the female models he photographs, one of whom, Elaine Joyce, mocks his limp wrist and calls him “queer.”

According to the story, Jorgensen is not “queer.” Jorgenson is a woman whose physical body does not match her true gender. Today, in these more enlightened (or more confused) times, Jorgensen would be classified as transgender.

Whatever the gender of the film's lead character, The Christine Jorgensen Story is not the movie to consult for enlightenment. Directed by Irving Rapper whose credits include such respectable films as Now, Voyager and 1950's The Glass Menagerie and produced by Edward Small (Frankie and Johnny with Elvis), it is a cheap exploitation film (inexplicably released by United Artists) that lures the viewer with its leering approach to a controversial subject. Like George after he transitions to Christine, the movie lacks balls.

© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks


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