Extra Cinema: Behind the Candelabra (15)

Douglas and Damon in Behind the Candelabra.
Douglas and Damon in Behind the Candelabra.

Behind the Candelabra (15)

Director: Steven Soderbergh.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula and Dan Aykroyd.

Running time: 1hr 58mins.

MORE camp than a row of tents — surpise considering it is performed by two of Hollywood’s very heterosexual, male leads.

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon play Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson.

It’s amazing to think back and remember that Liberace successfully sued the Daily Mirror for using inuendo that alluded to his homosexuality.

Both Douglas and Damon throw themselves into their respective roles: one as the aging pianist, the other as the young, handsome bi-sexual man who moves in with him.

Based upon Thorson’s own account, we have to accept this as a fairly one-sided version.

And aspects of the story are downright bizarre: such as the plastic surgery to make Thorson look like Lee, or the aging piano-player’s plans to adopt his young lover.

But one thing that was never in any doubt was that the man could play piano. His mastery of the ivories shines through in this biopic and whatever magic they created post-filming makes it seems that Douglas is doing the actual playing.

In many ways, this is little more than a Film of the Week, but it is saved by committed performances from the leads.