Was Ben Hur a Gay themed movie?
Ben Hur : Was Messala in love with Ben Hur?
The script writer Gore Vidal says he introduced a sub-text of gay love between the two buddies. Their characters would become sworn enemies during the movie. The actor (Charlton Heston) who played Ben Hur was kept in the dark about the gay bit, as he “would have blown a fuse”. However, Stephen Boyd as Messala makes plenty of cow-eyes at the hunky Jew.
See the clip for yourself and decide.
The Hidden Homosexual History Of “Ben-Hur”
Does the new remake keep the gay subtext?
The hidden gay relationship between the two main characters was brought to light in the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet when Gore Vidal revealed that he was brought on the film as a script doctor and rewrote scenes to “hint heavily at a prior sexual relationship between Charlton Heston’s title character and his childhood friend (and later betrayer) Messala (Stephen Boyd),” reports The Guardian.
After Vidal’s comments the film’s star Charlton Heston wrote to the Los Angeles Times blasting him for tarnishing a Hollywood classic with homosexuality—but Heston didn’t know about the relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala because no one told him before the shoot. Vidal did confirm that “he had discussed the matter with Boyd, who duly followed the screenwriter’s lead for the key scene in which the boyhood chums meet again after many years apart.”
Even director William Wyler came around to Vidal’s reasoning for the need of a past romance between the two characters.