The Cinema Museum, London

The Vito Project LGBTQ+ Film Club presents Walk on the Wild Side (1962) on 35mm film

Sun 23 Oct 2022 @ 18:00 · Events

Forget your troubles, come on, get happy and join us as The Vito Project LGBTQ+ Club returns with its brand new season – Imitations of Life: Deconstructing Camp in Classic Hollywood. We will explore how camp has been used not only to bring joy and laughter to audience, but also as a tool to get subversive queer, feminist and socially-charged content to the screen – all the while eluding critics in the process! Each movie is preceded by an introduction and followed by a panel discussion discussing the movie through a queer lens, and a conversation with the audience.

With Walk on the Wild Side, directed by Edward Dmytryk, the Vito Project returns to one of its favourite themes: queerness under censorship in Classic Hollywood.

This torrid and lurid slice of Southern Gothic melodrama is not only dripping with atmosphere and repressed queerness, but also features three generations of Hollywood grand dames: tough-as-nails Barbara Stanwyck as a gloriously decadent lesbian bordello madam, Anne Baxter stripped off her Eve Baxter malice and instead sporting a quasi-Latino accent, and new kid on the block Jane Fonda as the not-quite-ingenue who is about to be corrupted by a simmering hotpot of vice and sin.

Set in Depression era New Orleans, in Walk on the Wild Side down-to-earth, good-natured Dove Linkhorn (Laurence Harvey) train hops from Texas to Louisiana with Kitty Twist (Jane Fonda) in search of his lost love Hallie (Capucine), a soft-spoken, sophisticated artist. Once in New Orleans, Dove is devastated to discover that she has been reduced to working in the “Doll House”, a high society bordello run by ruthless madam Jo Courtney (Barbara Stanwyck). But when Dove tries to take Hallie away he finds himself fighting for his life against bordello thugs and the jealous Jo who wants Hallie for herself.

Based on the scandalous novel by Nelson Algren, while the content of the source material was somewhat watered down to appease the censors, it still shimmers with the not-so-veiled lesbianism of Barbara Stanwyck’s madam, whose tenderness towards her ‘girls’ is hardly concealed. Get ready for truly pearl-clutching moments in a world of sweaty and steamy New Orleans boudoirs, as our Imitations of Life: Deconstructing Camp in Classic Hollywood season brings you the film legendary critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called a “lurid, tawdry, and sleazy melodrama” (when a film ticks these many boxes, how could we NOT screen it?!).

Presented from an extremely rare 35mm print from the BFI Film Archives.

The film length is 114 mins, and will be preceded by an introduction and followed by a discussion.

Doors open at 17.00, for a 18.00 start.

Refreshments will be available in our licensed cafe/bar.


Tickets £8 in advance or on the door.

Advance tickets may be purchased from Ticketlab, or direct from the Museum by calling 020 7840 2200 in office hours.