SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD
(director/writer: Matt Tynauer; screenwriters: based on the Full Service memoir by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg; cinematographer: Chris J. Dapkins; editor: Bob Eisenhardt; music: Jane Antonia Cornish; cast: Scotty Bowers, Lois Bowers, Stephen Fry; Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Matt Tyrnauer, Corey Reeser, Josh Braun; Greenwich Entertainment; 2017)
“A non-critical but provocative and salacious ‘tell-all’ biopic documentary on the now 95–year-old Scotty Bowers.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A non-critical but provocative and salacious ‘tell-all’ biopic documentary on the now 95-year-old Scotty Bowers. He’s a salty, storytelling, legendary, self-promoting ‘anything goes in sex’ hedonist service provider for the Hollywood crowd. Director-writer documentarian Matt Tynauer (“Studio 54″/”Where’s My Roy Cohn?”) soft pedals his likable subject as a nice pimp who is not really a pimp but a provider of services for the closeted Hollywood gay and bi-sexual community, who lived at a time after the Second World War when homosexuality was illegal and was criminally prosecuted. If the motion pictures industry knew you were a homosexual you wouldn’t be working in pictures.Thereby Scotty got the men stars men and the lady stars ladies, all for $20 a pop, which he believes is the right thing to do to subvert a bad law. The documentary offers no critical responses to Scotty’s wild stories of screwing some of the most famous stars and of his vast procurer activities, or even when he tells of his dubious childhood experiences with many Chicago pedophile priests (evidently for him sucking cock at any age can’t do anyone any harm). Scotty wants us to believe he was more or less a saintly guy in the Hollywood community, who provided a much needed service.The film promotes his 2012 memoir Full Service, where Scotty was proudly referred to as the “pimp to the stars.” It wants us desperately to believe everything he’s telling us is true (all the examples used in the film were fact-checked and everything he said was proven to be true). The conventionally made film has a bunch of talking heads and former service providers around to verify his tales (they include Stephen Fry, Peter Bart, Robert Hofler, Joack Kimberling, David Kuhn, Paul “Al” Lamastra, William Mann, Lee Shook,). Besides Scotty’s narration there’s also home movies, like the one showing the pool and mansion of his early conquest George Cukor.
The film begins by Scotty telling us he joined the Marines as an 18-year-old farm boy from Illinois and served in combat throughout the war years. After the war, in 1945, he worked as an attendant at the Richfield gas station on Hollywood Boulevard for an absentee owner. His first Hollywood customer to get some cock was Walter Pidgeon, the 1930s B-film star, who invited him over for a dip in his pool. Scotty saw business opportunities in running a discreet gay brothel right on the premises and when business boomed got some of his ex-military acquaintances over and gave them a chance to earn some needed cash by servicing the needy gay Hollywood community. Scotty soon became known in Tinseltown as the man to see about any kind of sexual favors, and over the years became Tinseltown’s best-kept open secret. He closed operations in 1980. When he left the gas station, fearing the Vice Squad, he became a bartender and wisely invested his money in real estate.
The gist of the story has Scotty at book signings for his memoirs, or mingling with the elites at gatherings held in the Taschen editor’s office, or gabbing with his longtime second female wife Lois and with her at his side constantly rummaging through the stored ‘goodies’ in his houses. He collects mostly junk and items like Playboy Magazines.
When not telling us that Cole Porter liked to blow 15 guys at a time, Charles Laughton loved to suck cock, about banging Bette Davies, fixing up Spencer Tracy with men and Kathryn Hepburn with women, telling stories about Cary Grant and Randolph Scott living together as lovers, that he banged both Lana Turner and Ava Gardner in a threesome in Sinatra’s luxury Palm Springs pad, that one of his clients in drag was FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover; and, many other celebrity frolics he gushes over, including the one about fucking a former king, the Duke of Windsor, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.The film is about as jejune an experience as reading a copy of the former Hollywood tabloid Confidential magazine. But Bowers story is undeniably an American Dream success story. Whatever I think of him blabbing, at least he waited for his great reveal until after all the parties he gossips about are dead.