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Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

This documentary is about Scotty Bowers and based on his book, “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.  Scotty is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who went to Hollywood after the war and became the confident (and lover) of many well-known actors and actresses. The gas station at which he worked became a front for helping them to connect with same-sex lovers at a time when people involved in Hollywood motion pictures were bound to strict ethics codes. The movie should have been very interesting; I was expecting a movie complementary to Celluloid Closet, which is still the best (and maybe the only) documentary about the depiction of gays and lesbians in film. What I saw was essentially a moving tabloid expose. Most of the film focused on Scotty, who I found to be quickly annoying (I think his wife is frequently annoyed with him as well), not very interesting, and whose history of Hollywood doesn’t give a lot of insight (Rock Hudson was gay, okay, so who didn’t know this already?). At its best, the film gives some information about what it was like for people working in the motion picture industry during the golden era; the lack of depth and limited research makes the film almost pointless as a documentary to be taken seriously. This gets a thumbs down from me. This could have been a very interesting movie had the writers taken a different approach.

About Gary Burkholder

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