Men have been kissing each other in all sorts of ways since humans first evolved, so I am not sure why in 2011, newly discovered footage of the first televised gay kiss was such a big deal. Maybe because it was Sean Connery (RIP) doing the kissing. After all, James Bond slept with dozens of different women in each Bond film and he had a career that maximized his masculinity.
Connery had been in smaller theatre and television productions until he got his break with the Bond films. He became a major actor with the success of his Bond role. His films also included Marnie (1964), Murder On The Orient Express (1974), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Highlander (1986), The Untouchables (1988), Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996), The Rock (1996), and Finding Forrester (2000).
Connery told Gus Van Sant that he secretly decided that his reclusive writer, William Forrester, in Finding Forrester, was secretly gay as an acting tool for finding his character.
Connery retired from acting in 2006. Among his achievements: an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Lookalike Award. He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1999. Connery was knighted in the 2000.
Connery shot the gay kiss scene in 1960, shortly after he started his career. I don’t know about you, but I always really wanted to see James Bond kissing another guy.
The kiss is in a 1960 BBC production of the Jean Anouilh play Colombe where Connery plays a husband whose wife leaves him for another man, played by Richard Pasco, who he also gets all hot and heavy with. He’s crushed. He can’t figure out why his wife would leave him. So, what does he do? He goes on over to find out what she thinks is so great about him. And apparently, he finds out. At the time of the kiss, homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. It might have been accepted because of the context and because it was a television version of a classic play by a great French dramatist. You know how the French are.
The BBC production of Colombe was believed to have been lost but researchers found a copy in the USA. It was screened by the British Film Institute in 2011. You can watch it on BFI’s site, but you have to register.