We all know there is a HUGE selection of LGBT themed films out there available to watch. Many are recent while some began to come into mainstream media in the 1990’s.
But is it possible that the first film ever to showcase a gay couple was made over a 100 years ago?
The answer is yes.
A few years ago the UCLA Film and Television Archives discovered a film that was produced in 1919 Germany. During that time in Germany, a Social Democratic government came into power allowing long-standing censorship laws to be lifted. Acting quickly, filmmaker Richard Oswald joined with psychiatrist and gay-rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld to write and produce the first gay centered film.
Different From The Others was a 90 minute film centered around a famous violinist and his male student. This was a drama that showed a love affair between the two men. Although the film did not show any sex, it is very clear in the film that the two men were in love. Unfortunately, the film suffered many vicious attacks from the right-wing press calling Oswald a “perverted Jew”.
The complete physical copy of the film was lost except for 40 minutes that Hirschfeld edited into a 1926 documentary about tolerance.
As part of the preservation, the gay and lesbian film festival, Outfest, partnered with UCLA Film and Television Archives has reassembled those 40 minutes based on Oswald’s screenplay.
“To use the term ‘restore’ would be wrong,” says Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the archives. “There’s not enough footage for a real restoration. But what we have put together allows people to experience the remarkable culture that existed in Berlin in the 1920s, which was wiped out, of course, by the Nazis. As far as I know, this is the earliest document we have of gays and lesbians being represented on-screen.”
This is an incredible piece of LGBT history. This may be the first example of LGBT people being depicted in film. This also may be one of the first steps towards the fight for LGBT equality.
Released in released in 1919 and starring Conrad Veidt and Reinhold Schünzel. you can watch scenes from Different From Others below:
3 thoughts on “Gay History – 1919: The First Gay Movie Was Made Over 100 Years Ago – “Different From The Others” [Video]”
“…But what we have put together allows people to experience the remarkable culture that existed in Berlin in the 1920s, which was wiped out, of course, by the Nazis”. Does anyone besides myself, see the frightening paralells between what was the climate of tolerance in Germany in the 20’s, and what happened after it, to todays’ return of the same climate and what the rightwing wants to do to “correct” that? I know that calling people Nazis and bringing up the Holocaust usually is an instant topic killer, but how close do they have to come before you see the danger of America becoming the new Nazi Germany? It’s my fear that should a Romney or a Ryan gain the White House, we will be at war against the entire world with the gays as the dead scapegoats along with anyone who sided with us for equality. The third world war will be the “charm” if you like your planets burnt to a lifeless crisp. I personaly like mine green and living without the side order of hatred. There is evil afoot and it’s growing bolder. Frankly, I’m worried for my country.