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Tuesday 24 April 2018

DVD Review: Behind the Candelabra

IF the thought of Matt Damon and Michael Douglas engaging in robust sex is your cup of tea, you've come to the right place.

Based on the experiences of young bisexual Scott Thorson (played by Damon), it shows his life with camp pianist Liberace.

Even though it's a made-for-TV effort, it's a cut above the rest in that genre. And hats off to the set designers, who have skilfully recreated Liberace's Vegas home.

Douglas and Damon are excellent, with the former adept at capturing the mannerisms of the man loved by the elderly, who didn't know that he was homosexual.

Damon is ever dependable, portraying the young lover who is cruelly cast aside when the performer wants to trade him in for a new, and younger, model.

It opens in 1977, with Thorson, an animal expert, being brought to see Liberace live on stage. After caring for Liberace's poodle, he's suddenly thrust into his world, becoming employee and lover.

Douglas plays Liberace as a man with no real friends, who feels alone and with many demons behind the stage smile.

But he's also self-obsessed, and uses those around him.

After a whirlwind romance, the movie soon delves into the usual starry tale of drug addiction, violence and double-crossing. Watch out for Debbie Reynolds as Liberace's mother – she steals the show in her all-too-brief scenes.

It's hard to say how much of the movie is reality or fiction, but it's worth a watch nonetheless.

DVD EXTRAS: A 15-minute making-of featurette is included, with a look at sets and costumes. There's also a brief bio of Liberace. A code for iTunes and UltraViolet copies is included in the Blu-Ray edition.

> Mark Evans

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