Set in a men’s clothing store where an orgy takes place, Trouser Bar stars Nigel Havers and Julian Clary as passersby who spy the proceedings fondly.
Gielgud, one of the most celebrated stage actors of his time, but best-known for his Oscar-winning work as Dudley Moore’s butler in the film comedy Arthur and for his turn in the TV drama Brideshead Revisited, wrote the screenplay in secret in 1976 and intended for Peter de Rome, who’s considered the grandfather of gay pornography.
De Rome never used the script, but it fell into the hands of David McGillivray, who recently produced a documentary about the pornographer.
Now, McGillivray has turned the script into a short film, much to the chagrin of The Sir John Gielgud Charitable Trust.
“Earlier this year, the trustees decided not give their permission for it to be produced because they didn’t think it was appropriate,” trust member Ian Bradshaw told the Daily Mail. “They didn’t have to go into detail because they own the copyright.”
The film has entered the editing stage, and McGillivray staunchly defends his decision.
“Pornography is still a stigma in this country, but Sir John loved porn and, in his letters, he talks about visiting gay cinemas,” he says. “I was shocked when the trust didn’t give me permission. We stuck to Sir John’s script very tightly when we made the film a couple of weeks ago. He was very specific about the clothes he wanted the actors to wear.”
“They have come down heavily on me,” McGillivray says. “They are using intellectual copyright as an excuse.”
In an interesting side note, Gielgud starred in a pornographic film himself. In 1979, the veteran thespian appeared clothed in Caligula, the super-controversial epic about ancient Rome that was penned by Gore Vidal and spiced up with graphic sex scenes. Gielgud’s biographer Sheridan Morley later referred to it as the actor’s “most embarrassing professional appearance.”