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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Forbidden Love")

 

Directed by Lynne Fernie + Aerlyn Weissman
Canada 1992

 

In the 1950s, a wave of lesbian pulp literature emerged, exploring a then taboo subject in vivid, sensationalistic detail. While these writers often took a critical, moralistic view of gay life, they provided a jumping-off point for women still discovering their suppressed sexual desires. But with society unwilling to grant them a place in public life, they channeled their passion for these novels into a vibrant underground culture full of distinctive codes, roles, and rituals. Mirroring the shadowy traditions of noir fiction, they also faced violent opposition from police and other protectors of the status quo, resulting in a dangerous, but ultimately liberating path to sexual awakening.

 

Mixing lively testimonials from unforgettable women at the forefront of mid-century lesbian bar culture with scripted segments that take the Hollywood melodrama in provocative (and sexually explicit) new directions, Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives is an eye-opening cultural history and one of the most memorable Canadian films of the '90s. With a soundtrack of late '50s and early '60s hits by The Fleetwoods, Connie Francis, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Shirelles, this is a stirring, funny, and ultimately moving portrait of rebellion flourishing in the face of repression.

***

Ten women, most of them in Vancouver or Toronto, talk about being lesbian in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: discovering the pulp fiction of the day about women in love, their own first affairs, the pain of breaking up, frequenting gay bars, facing police raids, men's responses, and the etiquette of butch and femme roles. Interspersed among the interviews and archival footage are four dramatized chapters from a pulp novel, "Forbidden Love": Laura leaves her hick town and heads for the city, where she meets Mitch in a bar. Sparks fly, and so do laughter and joy. Ann Bannon, one of the writers of those paperback novels about forbidden love, talks about the genre.

Excerpt from IMDb located HERE

One Poster and Pulp Covers

Theatrical Release: September 17th, 1992 (Toronto International Film Festival)

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Review: Canadian International Pictures (CIP) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Canadian International Pictures (CIP) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24:49.125        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,442,805,901 bytes

Feature: 24,812,298,816 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Canadian International Pictures (CIP)

 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,442,805,901 bytes

Feature: 24,812,298,816 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary featuring directors Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman moderated by professor Jean Bruce
Audio commentary featuring six members of the crew
The Ann Bannon Chronicles (2022, 17:50) A new interview with "The Queen of Lesbian Pulp" Ann Bannon
Cinema Politica Q&A with the cast and crew (2015, 22:48)
EPK interview with the directors (1992, 7:02)
Afterword (2022, 18:32 - audio)
Booklet featuring reflections from subject Amanda White, along with essays by Jean Bruce, Matthew Hays, B. Ruby Rich, and Rebecca Sullivan
Reversible cover artwork


Blu-ray Release Date: July 26th, 2022

Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Canadian International Pictures (CIP) Blu-ray (August 2022): Canadian International Pictures (CIP) have transferred Lynne Fernie + Aerlyn Weissman's Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives to Blu-ray. It is cited as being "Scanned and restored in 2K from the 16mm interpositive". Unfortunately the 1080P image is more waxy than grainy. It really looks like video - extremely soft. In this particularly documentary, I am less-concerned with the image (although it is consistent) and more with the content. Some of the CBC stock footage of Toronto and Vancouver look reasonable if still waxy - see HERE. This is a 30th Anniversary release and represents a film that I definitely wouldn't have seen by The Canadian National Film Board in my public school years which were often about Canuck wildlife (yes, 'Beavers', woodchucks etc.) There are some very cool transitions from the fictional lesbian dalliance (with actors Stephanie Morgenstern and Lynne Adams) to vintage Pulp covers (see samples below.) I loved those rich colors (deep reds, dark blues and greens.)

NOTE: We have added 40 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Canadian International Pictures (CIP) use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives is a lot of talking head interview segments plus the delightful fictional story interspersed between. Nothing aggressive at all and the track handles the dialogue cleanly and clearly. The score was by Kathryn Moses (Skin Deep, Night Canvas) and the film has late '50s and early '60s hits with samples like Connie Francis' Stupid Cupid, I Was Such A Fool (To Fall In Love With You) and It Would Still Be Worth It plus Jimmie Rodgers' Secretly, The Shirelles Maybe Tonight and the notable Come Softly To Me by The Fleetwoods. It sounds in-line with the image. Canadian International Pictures (CIP) offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Canadian International Pictures (CIP) Blu-ray offers two commentaries. The first is new (2022) and features directors Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman moderated by professor Jean Bruce of Ryerson University. They discuss decisions that were forced upon them to make the documentary (initial disqualifier about lesbians exclusively in the film.) They talk about the humorous aspects that were put in - the, at times, over-the-top fictional seriousness, the voice-overs adding some 'camp' to it etc.. This works very well with the salaciousness of the pulp covers. It's a delicate balance between that and the real-life stories of discrimination. It's excellent. The second commentary features six members of the crew; including cinematographer Zoe Dirse, sound recordist Justine Pimlott, assistant camera operator Carolyn Wong, production manager Geeta Sondhi, production assistant Glace Lawrence and editor Cathy Gulkin. They talk about their individual contributions and working with an all-female crew, the diversity as well as the groundbreaking work they felt they were doing. There is also a new (2022), 18-minute, interview with 90+ year old "The Queen of Lesbian Pulp" Ann Weldy (aka Ann Bannon) entitled "The Ann Bannon Chronicles". She is fabulous shedding a light on her work creating these 'Golden Age' lesbian pulp efforts that had a loyal niche following sequestered across the North America. She discusses Marijane Meaker's work of the lesbian pulp fiction genre and meeting her. Ann's six lesbian themed pulp novels written in 1957 to 1962 lasted the test of time and were re-released in 1983 and again in 2001. There is a 22-minute Cinema Politica Q&A with the cast and crew from 2015. There is a short 1992 Electronic Press Kit interview with the directors and a new 18-minute audio 'Afterword'. There is a liner notes booklet featuring reflections from subject Amanda White, along with essays by Jean Bruce, Matthew Hays, B. Ruby Rich, and Rebecca Sullivan and this has a reversible cover artwork (see below.) 

I really enjoyed Lynne Fernie + Aerlyn Weissman's Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives. Many friends know of my penchant net for vintage Pulp' (mostly magazines) and I have done a small webpage HERE. The wonderful ladies being interviewed in Forbidden Love remain totally engaging. This is fascinating and humorous as well as focusing a spotlight on a rarely (if ever) discussed topic how these women would navigate their lives around their discovery of their suppressed sexual desires - some 60-years ago in Canada! What a delightful joy this hybrid drama-documentary is and huge thanks to Canadian International Pictures (CIP) for transferring Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives to Blu-ray (I don't think it was ever on DVD) with all the impressive extras. I certainly recommend this to any who might be keen. Just great.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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Transitions to Pulp Covers

 

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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Canadian International Pictures (CIP) - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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