ANTINOUS has made cameo appearances in countless movies from the silent era to the present, and it is always a pleasant surprise when he shows up ... as in the box-office hit camp classic THE GAY DECEIVERS.
The film caused a bit of a controversy in 1969 ... the year of the Stonewall Riots ... because it was about two straight young men who pretend to be gay in order to avoid being drafted into military service and sent to Vietnam.
The movie follows Danny and Elliot, two friends who try to get out of the draft by pretending to be gay lovers who insist on being accepted as a couple at their draft board.
Their scheme works ... and they are not drafted ... but they are placed under surveillance by the Army and have to keep up the pretense of being gay.
They move into a gay apartment complex and try to blend in with the residents, all the while trying to maintain their romantic relationships with women ... and not get caught by the Army.
Their landlord ... played by openly gay comedian and cabaret artist MICHAEL GREER ... welcomes the two young men with open arms and has obligingly furnished their one-bedroom apartment in opulently campy style ... with lots of nude art and statuary.
The statuary includes a replica bronze statuette of the Capitoline statue of Antinous.
The Antinous statue appears briefly at the top of the apartment's stairway landing in two different scenes in the movie.
Antinous is positioned so that he seems to be conveying blessings on anyone coming up the stairs to enter the bedroom ... or when they leave the bedroom ... which is furnished with Baroque furniture with wallpaper and drapes in shades of pink ... and a large round bed.
They can never let down their guard because military men prowl the apartment complex.
The military men seem to be spying on the two guys to see if they really are gay ... or if they are straight and should be sent to Vietnam.
The twist is that even after the pair is caught, they are not inducted into the military. The Army investigators assigned to watch them are themselves gay and are trying to keep straight people out of the Army.
When the film was released in 1969, some LGBT people protested against its stereotypical depiction of gay men being effeminate.
Michael Greer later said he worked with the writers and director to tone down the role of the gay landlord Malcolm to make him more likeable to mainstream audiences.
Conservative critics condemned the film for indicating that the military service is full of homosexuals who try to keep out heterosexual males.
Viewed from our vantage point in the 21st Century, the film is mostly notable for depiction white male privilege caught in the dilemma of an unpopular war.
The film opens with chants of "No, We Won't Go!" ... the rallying call of anti-war protesters in the 1960s. But in retrospect it means privileged young white men were refusing to go to Vietnam.
Instead, poor blacks and Hispanics were drafted in large numbers ... because they lacked the money and influence to get a deferment.
The film is notable for the utter and total absence of any persons of color or ethnic diversity.
The photo at left shows a bronze replica of the famous Capitoline Antinous statue similar to the prop that must have been used in the movie.
Yet, in an ironic twist at the end of the movie, the two young men's love lives and their careers are completely ruined and they head off miserably to opposite ends of America to try to start new lives.
Meanwhile, all their gay neighbors at the all-gay apartment complex go on merrily having brunches and parties ... living happily ever after.
And Antinous stands proudly on the landing, blessing all who enter or leave the pink bedroom with its huge, round bed.
As our founder and spiritual leader ANTONIUS SUBIA says: "No matter how good or how bad a movie is, if Antinous is in it, then the movie is blessed!"