On this date in 1982 the film Making Love, starring Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean, and one of the first positive Hollywood depiction’s of gay male romance, opens in theaters across the US.
The film tells the story of a married man coming to terms with his homosexuality and the love triangle that develops between him, his wife and another man.
Producers timed the release of the film with Valentine’s Day weekend. In response to complaints about the film’s depiction of gay love, star Harry Hamlin rather presciently comments “The more radical elements of the gay culture are going to be disappointed by all the films coming out now sponsored by the major studios. A lot of [these people] feel they’re way beyond where these films take us. But the more intelligent know there has to be a groundbreaking ceremony, which is what this is.”
Making Love was originally hailed as a hit, earning an inaugural four-day box office tally of $3 million and swiftly expanding its theatre count from 300 venues to 700.[However the strong opening of Making Love evidently exhausted any potential public interest in the film which would soon prove a costly flop. Reports of Sherry Lansing’s December 1982 resigning as 20th Century-Fox president noted: “The company has produced bomb after bomb under Lansing, including Author! Author!, Monsignor and Making Love” and that 20th Century-Fox would end 1982 with a loss of $16.9 million.
Vito Russo wrote in The Celluloid Closet that straight critics found the film boring while gay critics, glad for any attention paid to the subject, praised it. Making Love opened strong at the box office its first week, but poor word of mouth led to a large drop-off in box office receipts the following week.
In 2022 Hamlin complained in People Magaize that “Making Love” ended his fil career: “For years, I’d think, was that the reason why I stopped getting calls? And finally realized that was the last time I ever did a movie for a studio,” Hamlin said. “I’ve done independent films but never a studio film. I had been doing nothing but studio films and basically going out on all the castings for all the movies. That stopped completely.
Hamlin is well aware that he “went on to have a great career — and I still do.” Hamlin went on to make a mark in TV, starring in L.A. Law for which he won a Golden a Globe and ironically had the first lesbian kiss on television, The Nanny, Veronica Mars, The Hot Zone, Mad Men, and Shameless. Hamlin — noting the “tectonic shift” in LGBT+ stories since then — added, “I’m very proud of having done that movie.”
WATCH the FULL MOVIE “Making Love” below
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2 thoughts on “Gay History: February 11, 1982 – “Making Love” Opens. [WATCH the Full Movie]”
I saw the movie when it was first released in NYC with my gay lover Bobby. We where shocked at the love making these guys where doing on screen. When he came to terms what he was. His wife couldn’t understand it she love this man. When he moved on N at the end where he visited she has a family but when he left she still was in love with him. Love this movie. I wish it would have been a bigger hit
Ground breaking then…but probably banned in Florida (and elsewhere) now.