Polish Gay Icon in America

Liberace was Polish

Liberace was Polish?

Steven Soderbergh recently announced that he plans to give up directing and it is doubtful if he will return to the film industry. His lastest movie shows that it will be a great loss. “Behind the Candelabra” charts the life of vaudeville pianist Władziu Valentino Liberace, who was of Polish descent. At the time, he was the best paid artist in the USA. He was best-known for his uniquely eccentric, baroque-like style which became synonymous with the name Liberace. He was an inspiration for Elvis Presley and is an icon for Lady Gaga. If you are looking for a film in the style of the Ray Charles or Johnny Cash biopics you will be disappointed. It is not chronological and it does not reveal any childhood secrets. The movie kicks off in the seventies when Władziu Valentino is already famous.The story of his life is told by Scott Thorson, Valentino’s partner, who lets us into the inner circle of their highly emotional and difficult relationship. We discover that Liberace ruthlessly took advantage of people and, despite always being surrounded by crowds of fans, he was an extremely lonely man. He was forced to hide his sexuality throughout his whole life. Their everyday experiences are shown in a funny light, but never mocking. It was a risk to potray the relationship between Liberace and Thornson, but Soderbergh proved he was up to the job. What is more, the acting is magnificent with Michael Douglas reaching dizzying heights playing the main character. Dan Aykroyd wonderfully portrays Liberace’s agent and manager. Rob Lowe as his plastic surgeon is priceless. Debbie Reynolds plays Liberace’s mother, Polish immigrant Frances Zuchowska who masters the Polish accent perfectly. “Behind the Candelabra” is mostly about love and the fact that the Hollywood movie industry still treats love between two gay people as taboo.

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