While many viewers have described Beethoven's Nephew as a homophile work portraying Beethoven as an incestuous pederast of sorts who has a hysterical hatred of women, including The New York Times star critic Vincent Canby, who described the film as being, “full of homoerotic nuances,” Paul Morrissey has vehemently denied what he sees as outright outrageous allegations. In fact, concerning the dubious dynamic of the one-sided relationship by the marvelously moonstruck maestro and his mostly emotionally monotone nephew in Beethoven's Nephew, Morrissey stated, “It’s inconceivable to think that Beethoven wanted sex with his nephew. That’s a “liberal,” Freudian idea. I never thought this. There was no eroticism. What he seemed to want was what Frankenstein and Dracula wanted, control and possession. That’s a much more powerful and confusing emotion. And although he never said it, maybe some kind of affection. His concerns with his nephew had more to do with his nephew’s maturing, the reality that he was growing up and would no longer be under his control…Wanting to control life makes him more sympathetic to me, a conservative, because remember, to me sex is the stupid religion of the “liberal.” In none of my films has sex ever been anything that anybody ever “wanted.” To read Beethoven’s motives as sexual is to swallow the pervasive liberal lie that sex is not just a positive value but the entire meaning of life on the planet! When you believe that lie, naturally it follows that all behavior gravitates towards that goal.”
Indeed, considering virtually all of Paul Morrissey’s films feature some sort of handsome, if not sadly strung-out, hunk in some form of undress, it would be easy to see that the filmmaker was living vicariously through the authoritarian anti-hero of Beethoven's Nephew – a darkly comical and romantic cinematic work featuring what is one of the most unhealthy uncle-nephew relationships ever captured on celluloid, yet executed with the sort of restrained subtly of the silent era. Like the other famous Morrissey of Irish stock, many believe that Paul Morrissey has led a life of (Catholic) celibacy and his former collaborator Andy Warhol seems to have thought the same thing, writing, “The running question was, did he [Paul Morrissey] have a sex life or not? Everyone who'd ever known him insisted that he did absolutely nothing, and all his hours seemed accounted for, but still Paul was an attractive guy, so people constantly asked, 'What does he do? He must do something...,” yet no one seems to know what that “something” was as we only have his films as evidence and if something thing can be said about Beethoven's Nephew, it is that the director must really love Beethoven’s music and looks nostalgically on the good old days of Occidental high kultur and when men taught their sons (or, in this case, nephews) responsibility and discipline, like staying away from salacious young ladies with syphilis. Even though Morrissey portrayed Beethoven as a belligerent and boorish bastard of a man in Beethoven's Nephew, the auteur ultimately, “was always entirely sympathetic to Beethoven. I feel sorry for him because he was the victim of his own selfishness. I like the story because there’s such a connection between his music and his life. I was struck by the fact that Beethoven never pontificated about his music. He’d say it was the best and then leave it at that. That was the one little area in which he was secure. Otherwise he was blind, helpless, a little like Mister Magoo. This makes him very human, even sympathetic.” Indeed, one cannot help respect a man who is best known for depicting impotent hunk hustlers in a heroin haze and being the ‘Warhol Factory Filmmaker,’ yet finding a kindred spirit of sorts in Beethoven.
In our contemporary zeitgeist where the popular nasty noise that is played on MTV and Hollywood movies that are written by proud pimps, crackheads and dope fiends, clownish would-be-Whores of Babylon, enfant terrible twinks that sound like Negress soul singers, braindead pothead metalheads who drown their musical ineptitude in distortion, white trash wiggers who confuse spastic illiteracy with poetry, and so-called country singers who throw up if they ever smelled a steaming cow turd, Beethoven's Nephew makes for a classy work of cinema that reminds one that there was actually a time when a person could actually have 'too much concern' for the welfare of their kin.