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Word Is Out [Import]

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Pat Bond, John Burnside, Sally M. Gearhart, Elsa Gidlow, Donald Hackett
  • Directors: Andrew Brown, Nancy Adair, Rob Epstein
  • Producers: Andrew Brown, Nancy Adair, Rob Epstein, Lucy Massie Phenix, Peter Adair
  • Format: Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Milestone Video
  • Release Date: June 8 2010
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B003E74KRK
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Product Description

Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had never heard of 'Word Is Out' before it came out on DVD. This is a fantastic movie that invites you into the lives and experiences of a diverse group of gay men and women of all ages. Filmed in 1977, it relates the experience of being gay 30 years ago and earlier which is interesting, educational and still relatable today. For me, this film gives me an insight into the times before I was born, showing how the LGBT experience has changed but also how parts of it are still the same. It highlights positive changes we should all be grateful for and places where improvements still need to be made. The people interviewed are diverse (gender, age, race) and each have fascinating experiences and thoughts to share.

As in life, there is humour, hope and sadly some horror in these stories.

I think this is essential viewing, especially for all the young LGBT people who've grown up since these times to see where we've come from.

*In addition to the excellent original documentary, there are some great bonus features including some of the filmakers and subjects 30 years later!

If you have an interest in LGBT history, be sure to check out the incredible documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk". It's very hard to find on DVD but I got a fantastic 2-disc edition last year on ebay which I think came from Australia. (If you find a copy, just be sure it's Region 1 or 0 and NTSC).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9da4bcd8) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca58cf0) out of 5 stars A Landmark Film, Finally On DVD April 5 2010
By Robert in NY - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I first saw this documentary in the late `70s, when it was shown on the local PBS station in San Francisco where I then lived. (I recall some PBS stations refused to broadcast it at the time).

I had just purchased one of the first vcr's, and I taped it. That tape has lasted me all these years, but its physical quality (color, sound etc) obviously has deteriorated. And so I've often wondered when if ever it would be available on dvd. Well, some thirty years later, its finally "coming out".

Simply put, it must be considered one of the great works in gay history (and herstory), and is required viewing for anyone interested in understanding the on-going struggle for basic human rights and personal dignity. Documentaries (even awful ones) provide a fascinating glimpse at finite periods in time. Fortunately, this is a great one. It's beautifully edited and presented, with interviews of gays and lesbians, ranging in age from 20-ish to 70-ish. I believe one of them is Harry Hay, who was a founder of The Mattachine Society in about 1950. (He is currently the subject of a wonderful Off-Broadway play "The Temperamentals"). Other names will be familiar as well (the participant's are identified by name only in the final credits, at least on the vhs tape version).

This film was made just ten years after Stonewall, and the participants are all admirable for their courage in stepping before the camera at a time when it was not only unfashionable, but possibly dangerous, to reveal personal details of a "life style" still illegal in most jurisdictions. To a person they are incredibly articulate. The film does not tell a chronological story, and has no point of view per se. Unlike other fine narrated documentaries, like "Before Stonewall" and "The Celluloid Closet", this one paints a vivid picture of a seminal point in time simply through the disparate stories of people living it: post-Stonewall, pre-Harvey Milk murder, and of course just three or four years before AIDS would be identified (though many were of course already infected).

I write this review before the actual release date of the dvd, so I do not know how it may have been re-edited or (hopefully) expanded.

I want to emphasize that while some of the stories are terribly sad (a woman who was subjected to electro-shock treatments for example), there is more than a little humor throughout and so no one should presume viewing the film will be a downer. In fact, I was exhilarated by it in the `70s, and I still am.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca58d44) out of 5 stars GLBT living history Dec 8 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape
This is probably the best GLBT documentary ever made. It is poignant, funny, and provocative. While somewhat dated since so much has changed in the past 20+ years, the stories hold up and still speak to the human condition in a touching way. Also, it's probably just as necessary to give people a historical context of how far the community has come, not only since the film was made, but throughout the lives of the participants, including The Pioneer Harry Hay, who just died recently.
Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or knows any GLBT people should appreciate this film. And any member of the GLBT community should consider this mandatory viewing as an obligation to their own history, and those who came before.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca58f18) out of 5 stars What we've come to know and love from Epstein. Jan. 29 2003
By C Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This documentary is a great one. It carries the same feel as Epstein's other documentaries, COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT, THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, and THE CELLULOID CLOSET to name a few.
The film is comprised of many gay, lesbian, and transgendered people basically talking about all aspects of their life. Epstein and his codirectors did a good job presenting a variety of lifestyles: Black, white, mothers and fathers, the very young to the quite old. This truly encompasses much of the GLBT experience, in an entirely unbiased way, with people simply speaking for themselves.
I recommend this to all people, but especially to gays and lesbians.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca58e1c) out of 5 stars Amazing interviews for that point in time that are an eye-opening experience June 11 2010
By Haunted Flower - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
"Word Is Out" was the first feature-length documentary about homosexuality made by gay filmmakers and was premiered in 1977. Twenty-six people of very different backgrounds, ages, races, and lifestyles were selected after interviewing 140 people to tell the stories of their lives.

Thank goodness times have improved compared to what these people had to deal with in 1977 or even as far back as the 1940s and 1950s for some. There is still a long way to go, but this film does serve as a marker for how much progress has been made in the meantime. For example, one lesbian couple even though they were excellent parents to their kids from previous marriages had them removed from their home due to the type of environment the kids were being raised in.

There are some amazing interviews that get these people to open up about when/how they discovered they were different from others and how it affected their lives. How it affected those around them and the challenges with finding other like-minded people to communicate with. Many of them felt like they were all alone in the world. Also they talked about what they hoped for in the future in terms of rights for gays and lesbians. One very vocal woman said it had to be about women only fighting for women's rights and not worry about the guys since women have it tougher.

Many of these stories are emotional and talk of the hardships of being sent away to a mental facility and threatened with or had electroshock therapy used upon them to "cure" them. A few stories are on the funny side like a bunch of women dressing like men to join up in the armed forces. What is most amazing is that these stories are being shared at all in this time period and many of their feelings on subjects are heavily relevant today, 70s hairstyles and clothes or not.

"Word is Out" is being released now to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gay Pride marches. The film has been newly restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and its Outfest Legacy Project due to time taking its toll on existing prints and the film rarely being seen anymore although it was a landmark in cinema. The restoration is pretty great and seeing it now captures so much of the feel of the time period. This documentary had been shown in theaters around the world and on prime-time television and helped countless people accept themselves as well as their friends and families and positively impacted the American culture.

Bonus Features:

Then and Now - Thirty Years Later is a fabulous featurette about the history behind this film. Note that there is no single director but a collective group that worked together and called themselves the Mariposa Group. They made decisions together and shared responsibility.

The Afterthoughts section gives you a chance to see some of the interviewees as they are today and how their lives have changed and what they thought of the film and their involvement in it.

One small featurette is of the Mariposa Group remembering Peter Adair, one of their members who passed away. Executive producer David Bohnett quickly speaks about the film's impact and there are additional credits for the restoration and a trailer for this film and a PSA for the Outfest Legacy Project.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2e857c) out of 5 stars A delightful and heart-wrenching landmark doc finally on DVD June 2 2010
By R. Geatz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this film upon its release in the late 1970s. I journeyed from my Appalachian small town to the big city of Washington DC just to see it. This film certainly changed my life... and may have saved it. It gave me the courage to come out and confidence, knowing that I was not alone. Seeing it more than 30 years later fills me with nostalgia and reminds me what a good film it is, regardless of my orientation. You get to know a diverse and interesting group of gay people--all shapes and sizes, genders and ethnicities. The seventies styles will induce smiles among those old enough to remember them, and there's a sense of joy in recognizing how far we've come in the past three decades. There are lots of laughs, too.... especially funny is Pat Bond's stories of passing as straight in the military pre-DADT. But there are moments of tremendous sadness and disgust as some of the people recount the misery they endured... often at the hands of their own families.

The extras provide added dimension--with follow-up interviews with some of the subjects a quarter-century later. It's heartwarming to see these survivors--wrinkled, gray and happy. Those missing remind us of how many men from that generation have been lost to AIDS. It's a DVD that I expect to watch again and again over the years.

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