On general release in the UK on 7th June 2013, Michael Douglas stars in the biopic Behind The Candelabra as the flamboyant pianist Liberace alongside Matt Damon as his lover. The film, based on a book by Liberace's former lover Scott Thorson, shows the pair's often stormy relationship as the pianist was forced to shield his sexuality from the public. Liberace was one of America's best-loved entertainers and it was only after his death from an Aids-related illness that his sexuality was made public.
In 1976 the pianist, entertainer and one of the biggest stars of the day, published a coffee table book about his collection of homes, jewellery and costumes called The Things I Love. This DVD is nothing more-nor-less than precisely that, as told to the acclaimed film-maker Tony Palmer.
Liberace himself takes us on a guided tour of his Hollywood and Palm Springs homes and his treasured possessions. A celebrated connoisseur of antiques, Liberace tells us about the origins and restoration of his extraordinary collection of crystal chandeliers, rugs, furniture, automobiles, pianos and of course the gold candelabras. He talks about the costumes, jewellery and sense of theatre that earned him in his lifetime the title of 'Mr Showmanship'.
Within a very few years, Wladziu Valentino Liberace sprang from West Allis, Wisconsin, to become America's first television matinée idol and one of the most successful nightclub performers of all time. He popularised 'classical music' for the general public, and earned the kind of devotion and admiration that became the envy of many, more 'straight', performers. But to do this he worked phenomenally hard, was a devoted family man and above all an accomplished pianist.
Palmer's DVD is testament to a remarkable life, with deeply felt observations about his self-image, marriage, children, the press and religion. "The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys," he quips. And although Liberace took evident delight in collecting beautiful things, it is clear that it was people and the love they provided that really mattered to him. He was unique, and remains so, and this DVD is a celebration of that fact.
Über den Regisseur
Tony Palmer's vast filmography of over one hundred films ranges from early works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa (200 Motels), to the famous portraits with and about Walton, Britten, Stravinsky, Maria Callas, John Osborne, Leonard Cohen (Bird on a Wire), Margot Fonteyn and Menuhin. His 7 hour 45 minutes film on Wagner, starring Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave, was described by the Los Angeles Times as 'one of the most beautiful films ever made'. Among over 40 international prizes for his work are 12 Gold Medals at the New York Film & Television Festival, as well as numerous BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television) EMMY & GRIERSON nominations and awards. An honorary citizen of both Athens and New Orleans, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society & DLitt., he is the only person to have won the PRIX ITALIA twice.