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Datum objave: 18.09.2017

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Directed by Matt Tyrnauer

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Directed by Matt Tyrnauer

A deliciously scandalous portrait of unsung Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, whose bestselling memoir chronicled his decades spent as sexual procurer to the stars.

Scotty Bowers is an unsung Hollywood legend, known for catering to the sexual appetites of celebrities — straight, gay, and omnivorous — for decades. In the 1950s, he ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he'd fix up his clientele with quickies, threesomes, orgies... you name it. Then, in 2012, he finally spilled his secrets in the bestselling memoir Full Service. The book and this film reveal a dramatic counter-narrative on Hollywood's Golden Age. While the studio PR machines were promoting their stars as hetero, wholesome, and monogamous, Bowers was fulfilling their true desires.

The film begins with the book's publication. Bowers is turning 90 but has the vigour of someone decades younger. He is an unparalleled raconteur. Prepare yourself for a different take on Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner… the list goes on. Although sex workers are often portrayed as sleazy, damaged, or degraded, Bowers defies all those negative caricatures. He's a happy-go-lucky people pleaser and a total delight to be around. We follow him over several months as he meets up with old colleagues who corroborate his outlandish tales.

Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer has long been a student of Hollywood's secrets, coming from a show-business family and writing for Vanity Fair. His portrayal of Bowers has a touch of Grey Gardens as his subject basks in nostalgia and copes with hoarder tendencies to uncover buried documents as well as some buried life passages.


Matt Tyrnauer

Matt Tyrnauer was born in Los Angeles. He studied film under Joseph W. Reed at Wesleyan University in Connecticut before working as a journalist for Spy Magazine (was the New York Observer) and Vanity Fair. His documentary features include Valentino: The Last Emperor (08) and Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (16), both of which screened at the Festival. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (17) is his most recent film.

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'Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood': Film Review | TIFF 2017

Matt Tyrnauer's doc is a look at Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, who spent decades catering to the sexual desires of stars.

Scotty Bowers finally gets his close-up in Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, an engaging look at a man whose role as Hollywood’s “pimp to the stars” was known only to an inner circle until the publication of his book, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, five years ago. What could have been a merely sensationalistic exposé of the private lives of then-closeted screen luminaries instead emerges, in the hands of documentarian Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City), as a nicely filled-out look at different eras, one secrecy-ridden and dedicated to the preservation of illusion, the other wide open and blasé about personal predilections. Gay movie fans may be first in line, but the film succeeds on enough levels that a wider audience is a distinct possibility.

It’s fair to say that Bowers, now 94 and sporting a mop of white hair and a generally genial attitude, has led a life like no other. After returning from Marine Corps combat in the Pacific during World War II, this good-looking Midwesterner with a wide smile arrived in Los Angeles and started pumping gas at 5777 Hollywood Blvd. As Bowers tells it, an overture from a seemingly unlikely customer, the tweedy gentlemanly actor Walter Pidgeon, led to more Hollywood connections, some of Scotty’s pals joined the act and pretty soon the Richfield station was flooded with customers looking for a quick trick.

For his part, the ever-affable Bowers quickly became known for fulfilling any desire, male or female, solo or group, that his customers might request. The sensational revelations of his book, which were many, involved clandestine liaisons Bowers facilitated (usually beginning with his own participation) involving Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and, perhaps most startlingly, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, whom he insists were not physical with each other.

“Just what are you?,” Bowers is asked at one point. “I’m everything,” he answers, and it does seem that his eager-to-please permeability enabled him to be anything his clients wanted. On the one hand, by 1947 he had met George (“The Salivator”) Cukor and was sending new talent to the director’s famous all-male Sunday parties by the pool, while on the other he was involved in a three-way with two of the most alluring actresses in Hollywood, Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. “I was 100 percent reliable,” he allows, adding that he was bisexual but preferred women. “I made so many people happy.” Actor Stephen Fry wittily remarks that, “Scotty himself was pre-gay.”

At a certain point, anyone who reads Bowers’ book or sees this film has to decide whether to believe him or not. At this stage, there is no reason not to; Scotty does not seem remotely like a braggart or someone desperate for a sliver of late-in-life fame. He was always ultra-discreet and, incredibly, says he was never paid for sex by the stars he serviced; he made his money as a bartender at the private parties where he would then arrange liaisons. As he politely puts it, he ran “an introduction service.”

A particularly fascinating section has Scotty recalling how times got especially tough during the 1950s, when the vice squad got busy and the muckraking Confidential magazine made a specialty of splashing lurid innuendos about certain Hollywood “bachelors” and could and did ruin careers. Remarkably, Scotty navigated through this period unscathed and kept going until the 1980s, when AIDS effectively shut down the sort of casual “tricking” of which he was the master.

Tyrnauer devotes considerable time to showing Bowers puttering around his impossibly cluttered main house in the Hollywood Hills that he shares with his wife Lois, who seems disgusted by the mess but powerless to do anything about it. The film also follows him to book signings, conferences with Taschen Books and meetings with his few surviving old pals who deliver their own fawning testimonials to how Scotty enhanced their lives, as well as to the hospital for some treatment.

There have been some down moments in Scotty’s life, especially the death of his only child, a daughter, after a botched abortion when she was in her early 20s. The film doesn’t go into detail about revelations the book contains about his childhood sexual abuse, which clearly influenced his attitude toward sex, but Scotty doesn’t like to dwell on such things. When Scotty says he likes to make people happy, he clearly includes himself, and that he seems to have done in spades.

Production companies: Altimeter Films, Wavelength Productions, Huntsman Films, Water’s End Productions

With: Scotty Bowers, Lois Bowers, William Mann, David Kuhn, Stephen Fry, Peter Bart, Paul Teetor, Michael Childers, Lee Shook, Robert Hofler, Dian Hanson, Bob Mizen, Tony Charmoli, Paul ‘Al’ Lemastra, Liz Smith

Director: Matt Tyrnauer

Producers: Matt Tyrnauer,  Corey Reeser, Josh Braun

Executive producers: Jenifer Westphal, Pierre Lagrange, Lynn Pincus, Tom Dolby, Alice Bamford, Miles Benickes, Joni Benickes, Elliot Sernel, Lionel Friedberg, David Kuhn

Director of photography: Chris J. Dapkins

Editor: Bob Eisenhardt

Music: Jane Antonia Cornish

Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF Docs)

98 minutes

Big Stars and Blow Jobs: Inside the Most Gossipy Documentary in Years

Scotty Bowers

Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,

Full Service (book)

Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars is a "tell all" book about the sex lives of Hollywood stars from the late 1940s to the early 1980s by Scotty Bowers, with Lionel Friedberg as a contributing author. Bowers makes many claims about the sex lives of many people, most of whom were associated with the Hollywood movie industry during that period. The book, which was vetted by a libel lawyer before publication, was refused by several publishers before ultimately being accepted by Grove Press and Grove/Atlantic.Matt Tyrnauer, director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, is currently in production on a documentary film about Bowers's life

Hollywood’s favorite 'pimp': Meet Scotty Bowers, the man who arranged clandestine liaisons for and with Tinseltown’s most famous faces – from Katharine Hepburn to Cary Grant – all after a chance encounter at an LA gas station

Bowers, now 94, (pictured with his wife Lois) is having his stories of sexual intrigue retold in a new documentary film, Scotty and The Secret History of Hollywood. Bowers and Lois were married in 1984

Bowers started his career as a 'pimp' for Hollywood stars in 1946 at the age of 23. The former US Marine had moved to Los Angeles after the Second World War and was working as a gas station attendant on Hollywood Boulevard.

After a chance sexual liaison with actor Walter Pidgeon, who picked him up after they met at the gas station, Bowers soon started hooking up Hollywood stars and producers with men and women according to their sexual desires and preferences, or so he claims.

'Everybody's needs were met,' Bowers says in his book, released in 2012. 'Whatever folks wanted, I had it. I could make all their fantasies come true.'

The documentary, Scotty and The Secret History of Hollywood, shows Bowers walking out of his house on Kew Drive in the hills of Los Angeles. The view of the city is beautiful and a rainbow appears to touch down right in the middle of the city.

'Look at that beautiful rainbow,' he says. 'I created the rainbow in Hollywood, the rainbow was at 5777 Hollywood Boulevard called Richfield and that was the f***in' end of the rainbow for a lot of people.'

Photos Scotty Bowers

Hollywood Fixer Opens His Little Black Book

Full Service by Scotty Bowers: review

Errol Flynn: Mates with Scotty Bowers. Bowers took on Flynn's dates if he was drunk.

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