glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Hart, Moss (1904-1961)  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

Later Career

Following the dissolution of his partnership with Kaufman, Hart sought to realize his ambition to write significant dramas for the stage. However, with the notable exception of the musical Lady in the Dark, his "serious" plays received poor reviews and incurred significant financial losses. Hart was particularly disappointed by the failure of The Climate of Eden, which closed after only twenty performances in 1952. Hart based his script on Edgar Mittelholzer's novel Shadows Move Among Them about an emotionally tormented bisexual playwright, who finds refuge in an unorthodox mission and orphanage in an African jungle. Apparently reluctant to tackle a controversial theme, Hart simplified the central character by removing all indications of his bisexuality.

Although they generally received only lukewarm reviews, many of his later musicals and comedies were popular and financially successful. The exuberant musical review Winged Victory (1944) appealed to patriotic sentiment during the final stages of World War II. Although Hart maintained that the comedy Light Up the Sky (1948), concerning the difficulties of staging a play, contained some of his finest writing, critics complained that he had recycled material from earlier plays.

Sponsor Message.

During the later phases of his career, Hart gained the greatest critical recognition for his film scripts, even though he preferred to write for the stage. His screenplays included Gentleman's Agreement (directed by Elia Kazan; recipient of the Academy Award for Best Picture, 1947), Hans Christian Andersen (directed by Charles Vidor, 1952), and A Star is Born (directed by George Cukor, 1954).

Historically, Gentleman's Agreement was important for its frank revelation of anti-Semitism in America. Hart succeeded in giving narrative coherence to a storyline that, with less skilled treatment, could easily have become pedantic. Judy Garland insisted that Hart was the only writer capable of devising an effective treatment for the musical remake of A Star is Born, and she agreed that he would receive a higher salary than she did for the undertaking.

Hart also gained great acclaim for his skillful and sensitive direction of many different types of theatrical presentations, and he is credited with developing the final form of such hits as the Lerner and Loewe musicals My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960). Both these shows went through long, complex, and stressful processes of development. Actor Robert Goulet and many others involved in Camelot have maintained that Hart behaved in a notably flirtatious manner toward him.

In 1961, Hart and Carlisle moved to Palm Springs, California, in the hope of finding an environment that would be less stressful for him. However, on December 21, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Conclusion

From 1930 until his death in 1961, Hart was a significant presence in the American theater. On the basis of currently available evidence, it is clear that he had significant emotional and sexual relationships with other men, but that his attraction toward men was also disturbing to him.

In the musical Lady in the Dark, Hart articulated the ideas about homosexuality held by his therapist Kubie. However, The Man Who Came to Dinner may involve a more affirmative presentation of queer perspectives. When more of Hart's personal papers become publicly accessible, it may be possible to develop a more complete understanding of the interactions of his sexuality with his many professional achievements.

Richard G. Mann

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3  4  5    

    
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
 


   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Musical Theater and Film

The musical has been a significant aspect of American gay male culture, manifesting itself both in diva worship and, more recently, in the presentation of openly gay characters and shows written by gay writers primarily for gay audiences.

social sciences >> Overview:  Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, the clinical process of treating mental and emotional health problems, has recently been energized by a movement to depathologize homosexuality and to enhance the dignity and self-respect of glbtq clients.

arts >> Overview:  Radio

A product of the gay liberation movement spawned by the Stonewall rebellion, queer radio programming remains a significant source of entertainment and information for glbtq communities.

social sciences >> Overview:  Reparative Therapy

Reparative therapy is a dangerously misguided attempt, supported by homophobic religious organizations, to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

arts >> Coward, Sir Noël

Accomplished playwright, actor, composer, and lyricist, Sir Noël Coward was also a singer and cabaret performer; he dominated the British stage between the world wars, then reoriented his career in the direction of America.

arts >> Cukor, George

Responsible for many of the most popular and critically praised films of Hollywood's golden age, George Cukor became typed as a "woman's director," a phrase that may have also alluded to his homosexuality.

arts >> Garland, Judy

The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.

arts >> Horowitz, Vladimir

Russian-American pianist Vladimir Horowitz is widely regarded as among the greatest musicians of the twentieth century; his legendary artistry, preserved on recordings, remains a source of inspiration and delight.

arts >> Innaurato, Albert

Playwright Albert Innaurato's plays are as remarkable for the marginalizing ethnic identity, sexual orientation, and body image of their characters as they are for the author's refusal to adopt politically correct attitudes.

arts >> Laurents, Arthur

Playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and director, Arthur Laurents brought an independent sensibility to some of the most important works of stage and screen in the post-World War II era.

arts >> Leisen, Mitchell

A noted director of Hollywood's Golden Age, Mitchell Leisen is credited with more than 40 feature films, which are celebrated for their stylishness and visual elegance.

arts >> Porter, Cole

Living the paradoxical life of an openly closeted gay man, songwriter Cole Porter introduced non-normative values and risqué double entendres into what was one of the most pedestrian and hackneyed of cultural forms.

arts >> Solomon, Simeon

Known for his association with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Aesthetic Movement, British artist Simeon Solomon created homoerotic works and suffered as a victim of late nineteenth-century English homophobia.

literature >> Stein, Gertrude

In addition to becoming--with Alice B. Toklas--half of an iconic lesbian couple, Gertrude Stein was an important innovator and transformer of the English language.

arts >> Waters, Ethel

Perhaps best remembered for her award-winning performances as an actress, Ethel Waters was also a renowned Blues singer, known to have sexual relationships with other women.

arts >> Webb, Clifton

American actor Clifton Webb rescued the film sissy from secondary status, then moved on to a variety of comic and dramatic roles.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.

literature >> Williams, Tennessee

Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.


    Bibliography
   

Bach, Steven. Dazzler: The Life and Times of Moss Hart. New York: Knopf, 2001.

Gussow, Mel. "Kaufman and Hart." New York Times (January 5, 1980): 12.

Hart, Moss. Act One. New York: Random House, 1959.

Kaufman, George, with Edna Ferber, Moss Hart, Ring Lardner, and Morrie Ryskind. Kaufman & Co.: Broadway Comedies. Laurence Maslon, ed. New York: The Library of America, 2004.

Kaiser, Charles. The Gay Metropolis 1940-1996. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Laurents, Arthur. Original Story: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood. New York: Random House, 2000.

Merrick, Gordon. The Lord Won't Mind. New York: Bernard Geis, 1970.

mccclung, bruce d. American Dreams: Analyzing Moss Hart, Ira Gershwin, and Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark. Ph.D. diss. University of Rochester, 1994.

Stuckey-French, Ned. "The Odd Couple: Alexander Woollcott and Harpo." English Department, Florida State University: english.fsu.edu/library/nstuckey-french/oddcouple.htm.

Zaretsky, Eli. "Charisma or Rationalization? Domesticity and Psychoanalysis in the United States." Critical Inquiry 26. 2 (Winter 2000): 328-54.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Mann, Richard G.  
    Entry Title: Hart, Moss  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated January 6, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/hart1_m.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.