TIFF Docs

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Matt Tyrnauer

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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.

THOM POWERS

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