Friday, June 21, 2024

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Nude photos of Trench, Mr. Freeze, the Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, and an Austrian fitness model

Arnold needs no last name.  He almost single-handedly took bodybuilding out the realm of  Muscle Beach physical culturists and Italian sword-and-sandal movies and created the genre of Man-Mountains. His superlative physique and distinctive Austrian growl have been parodied innumerable times, on Saturday Night Live, on Seinfeld, on Tiny Toon Adventures).    It's hard to leave a room temporarily without being tempted to use his signature line from The Terminator, "I'll be back," or Terminator 2, "Come with me if you want to live."

Already a Mr. Universe and nearly a Mr. Olympia, the 21 year old Mr. Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in 1968 with his best friend Franco Columbu, to become an actor.  He posed for a lot of fitness magazines, including the gay-coded Tomorrow's Man.  In the 1970s he was the subject of more conventional semi-nude paintings by Jamie Wyeth.  

In the 1980s, photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.

I had a friend in the 1980s whose bathroom featured what looked very much like a nude photo of Arnold, clipped from a fitness magazine.  It's not the black and white beach photo above, or the flexing photo that's available everywhere; this one was in color, and showed Arnold standing on a hillside.

Arnold's first starring role was in Hercules in New York (1969), which nobody saw.  His accent was so bad that his lines were dubbed.

He starred in Stay Hungry (1976), about a young man, drawn into the world of bodybuilding, and in The Jayne Mansfield Story (1980), asMansfield's muscular husband, Mickey Hargitay.

More Arnold after the break

But his break-out role was Conan the Barbarian (1982), an invocation of the Conan of heroic fantasy novels and comic books as a Man-Mountain.  He is a warrior of the Hyperborean Age who battles an evil snake cult -- but, contrary to expectations, he gets captured and rescued as often as he does the rescuing.  And he has a male companion, Subotai (Gerry Lopez), with whom he has a bond as strong, if not stronger, than that with his girlfriend Valeria (Sandahl Bergman)..

Who would have thought that a Man-Mountain could be so easily queered?  And did I mention the beefcake?

Conan the Destroyer (1984) also gave Conan two companions, a comic-relief thief (Tracey Walter) and a fierce warrior (Grace Jones).  This time he does a lot of rescuing, but there's no fade-out kiss.

No heterosexual interest in his naked cyborg in The Terminator movies (1984, 1991), but he does buddy-bond with the young John Connor (Edward Furlong).

The gay subtexts can't last forever.  He played Man-Mountains who get girls, in Red Sonja (1985), Commando (1985), Predator (1987), and Total Recall (1990), comedic Man-Mountains in Twins (1988), Kindergarter Cop (1990), and old-guy Man-Mountains in The Expendables (2010, 2012, 2014).  Of course we watched: there were still muscles to look at, and occasionally his butt.

The former governor of California is certainly no gay ally; he has been very clear about his opinions of "girly-men" and gay marriage.  

But during the 1970s and 1980s, he was the "first crush" for many gay boys and a fantasy for not a few gay men.

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