“While obeying the biblical account concerning Lot and his family and the function of the two angels who investigate Sodom at the Lord’s behest,” critic Parker Tyler once noted, “the Watson-Webber work uses all its creative accents to depict the sensual responses of the male homosexuals of Sodom to the physical beauty of the foremost angel. Naturally the angel repulses their advances and proceeds (not finding fifty chaste persons present) to condemn Sodom to the flames, but not before we have witnessed, at some length, the orgiastic pleasures of the all-male population.” Lot in Sodom has often shared a double bill with Alla Nazimova and Charles Bryant’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, and the combination is fitting, as the latter is an equally homoerotic riff on scripture. In reference, no doubt, to the film’s Aubrey Beardsley–inspired mise en scène and rumors of its exclusively gay casting, Kenneth Anger dubbed it “Nancy-Prancy-Pansy-Piffle and just too queer for words.” Prints courtesy of Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941, sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and underwritten by Cineric, Inc.
Lot in Sodom
James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber, USA, 1933, 28m
Charles Bryant & Alla Nazimova, USA, 1923, 35mm, 72m