From films like The Imitation Game and Benediction, we’ve learned that being gay in England during World War II was a punishable crime. So if you were a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you were driven underground to search for and find love. Director/writer Andy Vallentine and co-writer Danny Kish’s short film, The Letter Men, takes a rare glimpse of one such love affair that was thought to be lost for all time.
“…Gordon writes Gilbert over 200 love letters.”
After meeting on a weekend cruise, Gordon Bowsher (Matthew Postlethwaite) and Gilbert Bradley (Garrett Clayton) became a couple. A whirlwind romance ensues, but the two are torn apart when Gilbert enlists in the second World War. Stuck in the underground shelters, Gordon writes Gilbert over 200 love letters. So as to not be caught or outed, normally gay men and women would burn the letters… that is, except for Gilbert. He kept every single one, and these notes surfaced not so long ago, becoming one of the largest collections of LGBTQIA love letters from that era.
The Letter Men not only brings awareness of a very dark time for the LGBTQIA community but, through Gordon and Gilbert’s story, shows that love is love, and it conquers all. The structure of the film is simple. Our lovers meet and then are separated. During the few quiet moments on the battlefield or in bomb shelters, Gordon’s letters are read in voice-over, breathing hope into a frightened Gilbert.
Finding mere fragments of LGBT history is rare, and The Letter Men puts a much-needed spotlight on a moment of history that could have been lost if not for love.
For screening information, visit The Letter Men official website.
"…puts a much-needed spotlight on a moment of history that could have been lost if not for love."