Milk

Here’s Yahoo’s movie page on Milk, which is getting rave reviews from the critics. 

The film portrays the rise of the gay political movement in San Francisco during the 1970s, led by Harvey Milk (1930-1978), who was elected city supervisor there in 1977.  Milk also includes a very frank depiction of gay life and culture in the city’s Castro District during this period.  The gay rights movement in San Francisco is set against Anita Bryant’s national campaign opposing gay rights and the film is peppered with documentary footage of Ms. Bryant throughout.  

Sean Penn’s inspiring performance as Harvey Milk is a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination for best actor.  Josh Brolin is also convincing as the troubled city supervisor, Dan White, who assassinated Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone on 27 November 1978. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Harvey Milk, the library has Randy Shilts’ The Mayor of Castro Street:  The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, originally published in 1979 but recently reprinted.  We’ve also got a DVD called The Times of Harvey Milk

Milk concludes with the assassinations of Milk and Moscone, but the subsequent trial of Dan White attracted considerable media attention and Facts on File includes quite a few articles on this topic.  White’s trial is famous for the so-called “Twinkie Defense,” whereby it was argued that a junk food diet had diminished White’s mental capacity and he was therefore not responsible for his actions.  The defense was successful, and White was acquitted of murder, though he was found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter.  White was released from prison in 1984 and committed suicide in 1985.

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