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The behind the scenes of a national drag queen contest in New York City, including the rehearsals leading up to the contest, the conversations in the dressing room and the jealousies that emerge before and after the competition.
Bruce Jay Friedman
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Joan Juliet Buck,
A lot of Angelenos can speak with some authority on Hollywood luminaries, if not with actual knowledge then certainly with distinct opinions. Take Skip E. Lowe. Mention Judy Garland, Steve ... See full summary »
Two general phases in the life of Scotty Bowers are presented. The first, and arguably the most salacious, is the post-WWII era after the end of his military duty when he was working at a Richfield gas station in Los Angeles. Although he was already no stranger to the breadth of sexual activity in which humans can engage, his encounter with Walter Pidgeon at the gas station, he who invited Scotty up to his place "for a swim", led to Scotty's "career" as a sexual being for hire, as well as one procuring sexual favors between others, albeit never with a dime going into his own pocket for that latter service (i.e. he never having considered himself a pimp). At a time when the Hays code was in effect which led to the movie studios closely controlling at least the public lives and thus images of especially their stars, Scotty's services became known as trusted ones for Hollywood celebrities who wanted/needed a sexual outlet of any nature outside of a conventional husband/wife marriage. ...Written by
Gossips about the film people in Los Angeles and their erotic delusions have always occupied the headlines. The sexual activities of people from all social levels at the end reveal: one, that bizarre appetites are everywhere; two, that we are victims of our own puritanism and debauchery; and three, that such news only arouses curiosity and little contributes to our lives. If not, consider what have you learned from the ignoble aspects of the lives of Marilyn, O.J. or Polanski.
The story of Scotty Bowers is film and literature material, without a doubt, and «Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood» proves it. It has become a documentary inspired by his biography «Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Life of the Stars.» All the surviving interviewees who personally knew Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, the Dukes of Windsor or Rock Hudson, confirm the revelations and affirm that Scotty does not lie. No salacious gossip in the style of Kenneth Anger in «Hollywood Babylon», which for a long time was the best-selling gossip book about film people.
At age 90, with most of his clientele already dead, Scotty published his account of sexual services offered to personalities of the L.A. movie industry (and other industries) and left the half-population of the city speechless. For being silly, if you ask me, for still believing in the Oscar, in Walt Disney and E.T. Before the camera, Scotty does not hide anything from his contemporary life, which he shared with singer Lois Bowers, who died in October 2018.
At the beginning of the movie, Scotty seemed an unpleasant person, simply because he calls a spade a spade. Then, I put aside my hypocritical self and let myself be guided by his humor, his strength to move on in 21st century L.A., for his love for Lois and his sincerity. Scotty does not hide anything about himself! From the abuse of his father in the country and the group of priests who used him as a child prostitute when he was growing up in Chicago, going through the interviews he gave to Dr. Alfred Kinsey about the sexual behavior of the average American male (and the orgies that he took him to see "the action" in the front row), until he got his job at a gas station in L.A. where he started connecting his friends with the stars, and he kept his first wife and daughter with his own body. The Hollywood anecdotes do not stop: all the girls he took to Hepburn, the nights spent with an undecided Spencer Tracy, George Cukor's gay parties, the threesomes with Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, his anecdotes of J. Edgar Hoover, Laurence Olivier, Walter Pidgeon, the secrets of the Duchess of Windsor, who held the reins of sexual mischief in their marriage...
The documentary follows the traditional structure of interviews, archival material, music, without forcing the viewer into a judgment about Scotty Bowers. There is no moralism here or pharisee positions. It is a dramatic portrait, perhaps sordid for some, of a man who forgives abuse, but who does not grasp it in all its dimensions. In spite of the humor, the vintage music and the images of the famous, it is a very moving portrait: the memories of family, the evidence of all the pain that he still does not recognize; the exaggerated and unhealthy accumulation of his memorabilia in different houses, the deterioration of his home, Lois's reluctance to know her husband's past, her nights singing in nightclubs while he lovingly watches her...
This is a revealing film, a humane, compassionate and open portrait that, as expected, was ignored by the Oscars, Globes, associations of critics, film-clubs and independent filmmakers.
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