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Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

In Brief: A very unusual tell-all that ends up as a why tell-all?

I love history. Documentaries involving Hollywood and movies are of â€" as you’d expect â€" of particular interest. So when I saw the poster and the trailer about Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, I couldn’t wait to see it.

The Scotty involved is Scotty Bowers. Looking much younger than his age, Bowers is now 95. At one time Bowers was a pimp. And â€" if telling the truth â€" an unusual one.

In 2012 Bowers published a book titled Full Service. It’s tell all about Hollywood legends and their â€" then considered perverse â€" sexual appetites. At the end of his life Bowers has become a hoarder. He has two homes and both are packed top to bottom with garbage. You learn much of that later in the movie when you start to wonder a bit about his cr edibility and whether he’s grown senile.

At the same time, most of his comments seem quite lucid and his memory and intellect seem mostly intact.

Director Matt Tyrnauer’s film begins pointing out the conditions in Hollywood that set up Bowers’ enterprise. In the 1920s and 30s, Hollywood was wide-open. It was kind of a Sodom and Gomorrah where anything went and no one cared who did what.

With the 1940s and 1950s came studio heads whose total focus was the bottom-line and how much money they could make. Worried about how a “Christian” nation would react to reporting from a more sophisticated media, morality clauses were put in contracts.

At that point a slip that an actor might be gay could quickly turn fame into infamy and end a career.

So paranoia reigned and that’s where the services provided by Bowers became so important. To demonstrate that importance, Bowers fearlessly marches forward in a non-stop monologue with supermarket tabloid -like tales about some of Hollywood’s biggest ever stars. His stories about homosexual and heterosexual orgies and trysts go from Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy to Cary Grant and Randolph Scott to Rock Hudson to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Edward and Wallace Simpson) and beyond.

By the way, Bowers claims the aforementioned celebs â€" and many others â€" are all gay or bisexual. He knows because â€" as noted earlier â€" Bowers was a pimp but not just any pimp, he was their pimp and operated his services out of a now long-gone Richfield service station.

Bowers brags that he connected male actors with men and female actors with women, and swung both ways himself, and swung with them.

Bowers â€" who prides himself on being tight-lipped â€" said he is telling all now because the stars he outs are now all dead. I guess it doesn’t bother him that some of their children may still be alive, or at the very least have grandchildren who might still be kicking around.

Early on in Tyrnauer’s film, you find Bowers entertaining and even like him. He’s led an interesting life and walked in some very hallowed halls. That is if his stories â€" and I suspect many of them are â€" are true.

One of the most interesting discussions comes from his wife who wonders to Tyrnauer’s camera why Bowers didn’t at least tell her about his bisexual past before they got married. In an era of AIDS that might matter. His answer went something like he didn’t ask her about her past so he didn’t feel obligated to tell her his.

What a jerk.

It’s just one example. And while I didn’t like some parts of the film, I’m going to give it a high recommendation. If this is your thing you will find it fascinating.

However, as the movie drags on, Bowers’ narcissism starts to show. The more people Bowers outs and the more he brags about his lack of boundaries, and the lack of boundaries of what was the best and brightest of the Hollywood of antiquity, the more you want to the film to end so you can go home and take a shower.

Director: Matt Tyrnauer

Stars: Scotty Bowers, Stephen Fry, Lois Bowers, Peter Bart

Rated R for language, mature themes and sex and nudity. Fascinating subject and a fascinating story. Might have made a pretty good one-hour film but the 1:40 is about 40-minutes too long. Give this one a 3 1/2 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.

Catch Gary Wolcott Friday afternoons at 4:50 on KXL’s Afternoon News.

Gary has been KXL’s movie critic since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and ne wspaper for 28-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Click here to email him.

Source: Google News Hollywood

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