Saturday, December 28, 2019
"Sunset" presents two gay male lovers contemplating the World War II draft, long before "don't ask, don't tell"
“Sunset”, directed by Kate Ennis and Gary Jaffee, written by Gary, is a 15-minute short film (from Band of Others) that presents us with two young gay men in a hotel room in NYC around 1942 both facing the draft, shortly after Pearl Harbor. The first shot in the film is of a wooden radio with FDR's comforting voice.
After making out, Arnie (if I have my characters right), played by Brian Trout, announces he has gotten out of being drafted by a “Jewish” psychiatrist with a metaphor about popsicles. This is the hairy chested one.
Peter (Niccolo Walsh), who (ironically) is the smooth one, is going to go and fight. Maybe he’ll get a clerk-typist MOS.
The encounter has some dialogue about male fungibility and expandability, in wartime. The women can always bear the children and raise them. It also talks about who is a parasite. This is pretty heavy stuff, but it needs to be heard.
The Army, of course, did its best to pretend it did not draft gay men when it knew it needed everyone and took them. Welcome to the world long before “don’t ask don’t tell”.