Behind the Candelabra

Synopsis: Scott Thorson, a young bisexual man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears.
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Production: HBO Films
  Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 41 wins & 48 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min




I'm Bob.


Okay, there you go.

Good boy.

Wait, no, don't lick it off.

Don't. That's good.


I mean, look.

Look how Cannibal's

doing it, see?

See there?

That's it.

Good boy.

I need them

on set, Scott.

Right away.

Okay, you know your lines?

You know your lines?

Come on.

Lou says we can't do the

growl and the attack in one shot.

We can do it,

but we need to do it

in two separate pieces.

We need to prep the dogs

separately for the attack.

I just don't understand

why we can't get it in one.

Because he's got the bite

suit on under his clothes,

so the dogs see him

as a big old chew toy.

I mean, it's fun for

them, they love it.

It's a safety issue.

Scene 37, take one.


A and B camera,

common mark.




Right here, boys.

- We set?

- Set.

And action!


Your mother called.

What did she want?

To see you.

- Do I have to?

- No.


No, of course not,

but... she's your mother.

She says she's doing

much better.

- For how long this time?

- Joe, stop.

I'll think about it.


Oh, and a man named

Bob Black called.

Oh, okay.

Is that one of them

San Francisco fellas?

No. He's from here.

West Hollywood.


- Hey, cheeks!

- Shh!

This is

where you live?

Yeah. Why?

You must have moved in after the

Clampetts left for Beverly Hills.

Bye, Rose.

I'll see you tomorrow!

- Have a good time!

- Okay.

This is Bob.

- Oh, hi, Bob.

- Hi, Rose.

And now,

ladies and gentlemen,

the star of the show...

the man who's famous

throughout the world...

for his candelabra...

and his piano...

Mr. Showmanship...



Now, this next part of the

boogie woogie is so strange,

it really calls

for an explanation.

It's called

a boogie woogie break.

When I'm playing it

and I stop at a certain point...

you're going to think

I've forgotten the music.

But I didn't forget

the music.

There's just no music

written for that part.

That's why they call it

a break.


Oh, this is fun.

Let's try something.

Suppose only the ladies

in the audience

this time, okay?

All the girls together.


Oh, that was


Okay, fellas.

It's your turn now.


I love it!

That was terrific!

You see, George?

I told you

men do come

to my concerts.

Well, I really appreciate it.

And I know somebody else

out in the audience

who appreciates it, too.

And that's my mom.

Mom, I tell you what.

Let them hear it from you...

and I'll play it just for you.

Okay, Mom?


Oh, Mom, you're in

the groove tonight.

I really

thank you all

for joining me

in this boogie woogie.

I'd like to try

a little experiment.

I've been playing

this boogie woogie

at eight beats

to the bar.

I'd like to try

playing it now

at 16 beats

to the bar.


He's incredible!

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

- Thank you.

- Bravo.

You know...

No, that's all right.

Stare as long as you want.

I mean, you paid for it.

You know, I always get asked...

"How do you play the piano

with all those rings

on your fingers?"

And I always tell them,

"Very well indeed."

Thank you.

And now I'd like

to introduce

another pair

of piano-playing hands

to join me in a duet.

My protg and friend,

Mr. Billy Leatherwood!

Oh, look!

A matched pair of queens.


It's funny that this crowd

would like something this gay.

Oh, they have no idea he's gay.

There's Ray.

See him? In the black.

Come on, come on!

Ray! Ray.


- I'm so glad you made it!

- We loved it. Thank you so much.

This is my friend,

Scott Thorson.

- Hi. Nice to meet you.

- Hi.

That was really something.

Thank you.

- Come on back and say hi to Lee.

- You sure?

Yes, he'd love

to see you!


Look who's here!

- Hello, Bobby!

- Lee, you were fantastic!

This is my friend,

Scott Thorson.

His first time

in Las Vegas.

A lost babe

in the woods, huh?

It's like a Disney movie.

Little Bambi.

Very nice to meet you.

You were incredible

out there.

Oh, I'm just

a piano player.

But everybody did seem to enjoy

themselves, didn't they?

You were great,

too, Billy.

Ray, why don't we fix

everybody a drink?

- All right.

- I'm not going to have one.

I still have

another show to do.

What... you're going to

do that all over again?

I don't know

how you do that.

Oh, aren't you sweet!

It's not bad

for an old bag, huh?

Oh, you look fantastic!

And those bits

with the audience are gold!

They work every time.

I stage this show

once a year.

It works the same way

every single night.

I'll tell you, when I was

working saloons in my youth--

back in Milwaukee,

they called them saloons.

That's how old I am.

I'm from Wisconsin, too.

No! You are?

Well, this

must be fate.

One night,

this audience asked me

to play this popular hit parade

song called "Three Little Fishes".

It barely had a melody,

it wasn't a challenge

at all...

but I played it, you know,

and they were happy.

And then, I don't know

where it came from...

but I got this inspiration

to play it

as if it was composed

by Strauss.

And they loved it!

They ate it up!

You would have thought that I invented the piano.

And I knew

right then

it was all about

giving them a good time.

And that's what

I'm all about.

I love to give people

a good time.

Bobby, you boys

staying in town tonight?

Oh, yes. It's too

late to drive back to L.A.

Lee, why don't we have the

boys over for brunch tomorrow?

No, that's

too much for you.

No, no.

That's a great idea!

Of course!

Let's do it.

But after 3:


'Cause I need

my beauty sleep.

Welcome, gypsies!

Is this a palace?

Lee thinks

he's King Ludwig II.

- Who's he?

- The Liberace of Bavaria.

Oh, is he

a piano player, too?



Almost time

for a dip.

I'm sorry

I'm so informal.

So happy you all could come.

Don't these things

belong in an oven?

He's so mean

to my babies.

I mean,

this is my family.

And this is Baby Boy.

Baby Boy,

he's very old.

He's deaf, and he's blind.

I'm his

seeing eye person.

I could get something to

help clear up his eyes.

- Scott works with animals.

- Oh.

I worked for a vet

you know, for a while,

and we had a lot of poodles

with eye problems.

Oh, that would be


No one's been able to help

my little Baby Boy.

I hate

to see him suffer.

I think my favorite review

is from San Francisco,

when they said:

"Liberace was no Rubinstein...

but then Rubinstein

is no Liberace."

This is my houseboy, Carlucci.

He rules the roost

around here.

Thank you.


- What?

- Pig in a blanket.

You want a pig

in a blanket?

No. Thanks.

After lunch, I'll give

you a guided tour.


I do all my own decorating.

I just love it.

I call this

"palatial kitsch".

- Right.

- Don't you just love that?

I never saw

so many pianos.

Oh, I never touch them.

Mama made me play

every day in my childhood.

Didn't have

any friends.

So now I never play...

when I play.

These are actual

Roman columns.

Rate this script:3.0 / 1 vote

Richard LaGravenese

Richard LaGravenese (born October 30, 1959) is an American screenwriter and film director, best known as the writer of The Fisher King. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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