Gods and Monsters, one of three inaugural titles in Arsenal’s film book series Queer Film Classics, deals with the acclaimed 1998 film about openly gay film director James Whale, best known for the Frankenstein films of the 1930s.
Written and directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), the film focuses on the final days of Whale's life in the 1950s. Moving from the slums of Britain in the early twentieth century to the new era of "talkies" in Hollywood and beyond, Gods and Monsters trains a gay eye on the historical events that helped shape Whale (played by Ian McKellen) and his films. In 1957, long after his career had peaked, he recounts his experiences to his young, straight gardener (played by Brendan Fraser), with whom he forms an uncommon bond. The resulting film was widely acclaimed, winning an Oscar for Condon's screenplay and nominations for both McKellen and co-star Lynn Redgrave.
Noah Tsika’s book examines Gods and Monsters from a variety of perspectives, highlighting the complexity and significance of its achievements, including its fusion of fantasy and biography.