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.

Rock Hudson in All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)

In July 1985, it was disclosed in the French press that 59-year-old American movie and TV star Rock Hudson had gone to Paris for AIDS treatment. This was the first time the actor’s diagnosis had been revealed in print, and the article served as a tacit confirmation for a rumor that had persisted for well over a decade: Rock Hudson was gay. Both revelations were equally shocking to people: as the first major American celebrity known to have contracted AIDS, Hudson put a recognizable human face on a disease that for many Americans was abstract at best, something meant for all those faceless sexual “deviants” in major urban hubs whose lives would presumably never…