Director – Stephen Kijak – 2023 – US – Cert. 15 – 104m
Matinée idol Rock Hudson epitomised the Hollywood dream until he died of AIDS in 1985 – documentary portrait available on digital platforms from Monday, 23 October
It was only when Rock Hudson tragically died of AIDS in 1985 that the fact that he was gay entered into the consciousness of the American, movie-going public.
He originally came to Hollywood to pursue an acting career after a stint in the US Navy in the final years of World War Two, signing up with agent Henry Willson. Willson had a knack for renaming actors, and it was he who gave the young Roy Fitzgerald the name Rock Hudson with which he was to achieve stardom. Even so, the twentysomething spent the best part of a decade playing roles in Westerns and adventures before director Douglas Sirk cast him in the romantic melodrama Magnificent Obsession (1954) opposite Jane Wyman. Sirk clearly saw a quality in the actor that no-one else had identified, and a screen legend was born.
Hudson was to prove the perfect fit for the onscreen romantic lead and would play similar roles for much of his career which included not only further roles for Sirk in All That Heaven Allows (1955), again with Wyman, and Written On The Wind (1956), opposite Lauren Bacall, but also starring with James Dean in what was to be the latter’s final film Giant (George Stevens, 1956).… Read the rest