Revealing Mr. Maugham

DIRECTOR: Michael House

Who was W. Somerset Maugham? His hugely successful books and plays were adapted into major Hollywood movies, including Of Human Bondage and The Razors Edge; he was the highest paid author of the 1930s. Despite this level of notoriety, the average reader knows little about this fascinating man and his passionate relationship with Gerald Haxton, a native of San Francisco. Filmmaker Michael House’s illuminating documentary explores the professional and private complexities of this literary giant, who very publicly left his wife for the man of his dreams.

Through interviews with family, friends and scholars, Revealing Mr. Maugham paints a comprehensive picture of a dynamic life that began with his early struggles and led to his subsequent great success. We learn how a stammering, shy boy from a broken home manages to find his voice and his identity through the world of words. Insightful analysis from writers like Armistead Maupin and Alexander McCall-Smith also frame Maugham’s sexually frank work around issues of gender politics and gay identity. It’s not easy to tell the full story of one man’s life in 84 minutes, but House finds the perfect blend of talking head interviews, homemade video footage and classic Hollywood film clips to craft an exhilarating and informative portrait of a great writer, a mesmerizing man and a gay pioneer.

— BRENDAN PETERSON

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D225


Co-presented by:
Heyday Books

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