In this biweekly column, Michael Koresky looks back through a century of cinema for traces of queerness, whether in plain sight or under the surface. Read the introductory essay.

Images from These Three (William Wyler, 1936)

These two, Martha and Karen, are fresh from graduating a women’s college in New England. We don’t know much about them yet, but it’s clear from the start that these bosom buddies share an easy intimacy. Packing up their dorm room, they dream of their future while sprawled out, inhabiting their space with a casual, physical chemistry that can only come from cohabitation. The young women have little money to their name, but drive, gumption, and ambition in spades—and something else: a bond that makes them more powerful as a pair. “Maybe we could live somewhere together,” imagines Martha wistfully, and since it’s said by pinpoint precise, no-nonsense Miriam Hopkins, you…