The Blue Lagoon: Directed by Randal Kleiser Produced by Randal Kleiser Screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart Story by Henry De Vere Stacpoole
Starring: Brooke Shields Christopher Atkins Leo McKern William Daniels
Music by Basil Poledouris Cinematography Néstor Almendros Editing by Robert Gordon Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Below: Randal Kleiser on set with Shields and Atkins.
I guess it would have made more sense to have done this post last year on the 30th anniversary, but I still felt it was worthy to note it was 31 years ago this month that THE BLUE LAGOON premiered in theatres in the US and Canada. The film actually first made it's debut on June 20th in New York, but premiered nationally on July 5th, 1980.
Filmed in Jamaica and Nanuya Levu (a privately-owned island in Fiji), and the blue lagoon scenes were shot in Champagne Bay, Vanuatu. The film written and directed by Randal Kleiser went on to become the 9th highest box office winning film of 1980 grossing $58,853,106 in the US and Canada.
Box office aside, The Blue Lagoon had a huge impact on young gay men and boys all over the world. I am not sure the impact can actually be measured but I know from comments I get whenever I post about the film, and especially Christopher Atkins, that the movie's influence was widespread and powerful. Billed as a tropical love story, the relationship between Richard and Emmeline Lestrangethe seemed more a vehicle to focus on the journey through puberty. Because they were stranded on a Island, the journey was uncomplicated by maxi pad ads, parents, peers and the media.
It was almost unheard of in 1980 to have a teen idol so unabashedly sexual. Although many of his fellow actors 'teased' their 'female' fans with shirtless shots in Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, the 19 year old Atkins seemed to welcome all fans. The actor seemed to realize early on the impact he, and his role had on, not just his teen fans but adult men and women as well. It is something that has followed Atkins throughout his career and one that although he may have wished at times would go away, he seems to have embraced. Akins has never really gotten the credit for the wisdom he seemed to have, even at 19, and the respect he appeared to show for those he had an impact on.
I was very young when the movie was in theatres but even long before I actually saw the film I distinctly remember being fixated on the People Magazine cover featuring Shields with Atkins in his tiny loin cloth. I have never seen such a beautiful guy and became obsessed with that magazine. I was too young to have money to buy it but managed to 'steal' a copy from a waiting room the following year.
When I was old enough to rent my own movies, the VHS copy of The Blue Lagoon became my secret obsession. Like many of you I would rewind and play over and over again Aktins' swimming scenes and of course his far to fast trip down the water slide.
The Blue Lagoon and Christopher Atkins may not have won any Oscars (although the film was nominated for Best Cinematography) it remains vivid in the memories of many. It is hard to realize with the Internet so freely available to all these days, the incredible significance it was at the time to see such a hot young actor naked or pretty much naked for close to the entire 104 minutes (except how long it took them to finally crash on that island...) of the movie. At the time, and for many years after it was virtually unheard of.
For the next 4 weeks Dylan Rosser will be showcasing the work of UK photographer Simon Barnes on THE MALE FORM. Many of you know Simon and his work under the name of HOTSNAPZ.
'We have actually shot a lot of the same models and I think his work fits in well with the concept of the site. He has actually found 4 great looking guys and each one of them has never shoot full frontal before, so there is 4 weeks of EXCLUSIVES to look forward to.'
First up from Simon is 24 year old fitness trainer, Joe from South West UK. Check out more on THE MALE FORM!
It is always a joy to showcase the work, the passion, of Santa Cruz based photographer Mark Grantham. I have featured Mark's work many times on FH and am always blown away by his ability to capture the male body in new and creative ways. Mark shoots men the same way one might capture architecture with a focus on angle, on lines, shape and form. In one of my features on Mark' work (The Beauty Of Lines) Mark said the following;
'I approach each shoot with an eye for creating art... for creating something unique... for making the model shine... for grabbing the attention of the viewer... for creating a bit of mystery or wonder... Each of us is unique, so why create the same image over and over? ' Mark Grantham
I was recently pulled back to Mark's work and his work with Benjamin really caught my eye. On his site, Mark Grantham: Photographer a section is devoted to his shoots with Benjamin and I loved the work, especially the shots of Benjamin standing alone, naked, on the highway (see one below), which are exceptional.
'Benjamin was an amazing model - one of my first muses really. He was also one of my first digital subjects - a point that was driven home when I lost part of our first shoot somehow (he readily agreed to reshoot the lost material the next week further proving what a great guy he was). All told we worked together 3 times.'
'About the time of our 3rd shoot he was shot for Playgirl Magazine, appearing a few months later as the centerfold. By the time the magazine came out he had already stopped modeling (it was just a lark for him in the first place). I lost track of him for several years, but we found each other again on line last year. He is now a chocolatier, creating hand crafted gourmet chocolates for gourmet markets.'
Benjamin is also the focus of one of Mark's books (Benjamin 2008) with close to 50 pages of the incredible images of Mark created with Benjamin. You can check out more of Mark's books and preview Benjamin on blurb HERE: