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The Boy with the Green Hair

The Boy with the Green Hair

The Boy with the Green Hair

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1948 / 82min / 35mm

DIRECTOR: JOSEPH LOSEY

CAST: DEAN STOCKWELL, ROBERT RYAN, BARBARA HALE

I saw The Boy with Green Hair at the same summer camp at which I also saw a whole series of wonderful classics, including Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, and Marty, along with many, many others over the five years I attended. I have not seen it since (except possibly once on black-and-white television, where it made it absolutely no sense), but scenes stay with me nevertheless, such as the hero washing his hair and the soap coming away from his hair, which had been changed green by the washing, as well as its moral on the ostracism of those who are different. It seemed important at the time, and as a gay youngster who was terribly afraid that I would be ostracized for just that, it still seems important, though my actual experience, once I and my young wife left our various homes in order to live in a neighborhood (The East Village), where “that sort of thing” would be more acceptable, have always found Marianne Moore’s suggestion that one should tell as much truth as one is comfortable telling to be adequate, even as I took Baldwin to task in at least one essay for wanting to tell all the truth you could bear and haughtily claimed, “No, you should tell all the truth,” though I think that was just growing up.

Program notes by Samuel R. Delany