Stupidest movie question ever: Alan from The Long, Hot Summer was gay, right?

I just watched this 1958 movie for the first time last night.

Note the first: not nearly enough shirtless Paul Newman.

So there’s this character, Alan, who is a rich guy who doesn’t work, but lives on an estate…with his mother. He’s often sickly, and the first time we see him, in fact, he’s lying on a lawn chair looking a little peaked. It’s mentioned several times that his mother is overbearing (although at the end, he does stand up to her and tell her to be quiet). He has been hanging out (taking walks, going to picnics, going to her house for dinner - basic courting behavior) with Clara for the last 5 years. She likes him, in a romantic sense. Her father wants her to get married - to someone, Alan or Ben, he doesn’t care much, he just wants her to get on with the breeding. When she finally confronts Alan to wheedle a proposal out of him, he tells her he’s “not the kind of man for her, and can never be.” (That may not be an exact quote, but that’s the gist.) She, embarrassed at her boldness and attraction to him, starts crying.

So…he’s gay, right? It just seems so odd to me that it’s never mentioned, but I guess due to the age of the film, it wouldn’t be stated outright. Did audiences of the time “get it”, or did it fly under the radar?

I saw the movie again for maybe the tenth time just last month or so.

If Alan’s not gay then he’s a Mama’s Boy. There’s a distinction. Some guys are so coddled and pampered that they are asexual or else have no real needs that their mothers can’t provide.

The age of the movie is a big factor in why that issue is unclear. Others from the period (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer to name two) were deliberately vague on hot sexual issues and one had to read quite deeply between the lines to find evidence of any specific abnormalities. But in those days half the thrill was in doing that between-the-lines speculation. Nothing was overt so you could speculate on just about every relationship.

Alan just sticks out as a more blatant example than many.

You’re thinking Spanking the Monkey! :smiley:

In all the film classes I’ve taken where this movie was discussed, it was decided Alan was gay – and very repressed.

Of course he was gay. But in the '50s people just didn’t talk about these things, not in real life and not in movies. Everything was innuendo, and it was pretty much understood that mama’s boy = gay.

I don’t think the Alan Stewart character appears in Faulkner’s novel The Hamlet, which might have answered the quetion definitely. I think that subplot was the screenwriters’ invention.

Thanks for the replies. I was pretty sure, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to be the one guilty of stereotyping, y’know? But, on the other other hand, movies to have a vocabulary to tell us things without being explicit, and I thought this was probably within the movie vocabulary of the late '50s. Today, if a movie showed a man wearing a tight shirt at a bar with all men listening to techno music, we’d know the character was gay without it ever being said outright - that’s the movie vocabulary of today (or 10 years ago, at least).