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Only a few days after its positive reception at the Cannes Film Festival, Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's final narrative feature before his long-promised retirement debuts in its native country not in theaters, but on HBO. Considering the star power in front of (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon) and behind (Soderbergh, screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and producer Jerry Weintraub) the camera, this may be the most high-profile movie ever to go the straight-to-cable route and it's worth noting that Candelabra wasn't intended to be produced as a telefilm. Soderbergh hoped to find a theatrical backer and distributor, but only HBO was willing to pony up the dough. That's a shame and also rather surprising since the film -- a biopic/relationship drama depicting the six-year romance between vintage entertainer and closeted gay man, Liberace (Douglas) and his latest boytoy Scott Thorson (Damon) -- turns out to be an entirely commercial-minded biopic that could very easily have played in multiplexes or at least a major art house chain. On the plus side, I suppose, premiering on HBO means that Douglas will finally be able to put an Emmy on his trophy shelf alongside his two Oscars.
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