EXCLUSIVE: The Matt Tyrnauer-directed documentary Scotty And the Secret History Of Hollywood will come out of the closet at Cannes. Josh Braun of Submarine has orchestrated a surprise buyers screening of the Altimeter Films documentary on Monday at 4 PM at the Gray D’Albion.
The film tells the story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after WWII and became confidante, aide de camp and lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male – and female – stars. Working out of a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots, he began connecting his band of friends from the military with Hollywood’s most famous stars, who had to hide their often complex true sexual identities from the public in the pre-Stonewall era.
Braun’s hope is to sell the film now so it can have its world premiere at one of the fall fests with a distributor in place.
The 93-year old Bowers, still a most precocious fellow, is a worthy tour guide who came of age as the consort of the top male stars of their era (he names names), in an intriguing secret society that he made possible. It’s plenty dishy, but Tyrnauer gives Bowers a context that almost makes him seem heroic in a movie that bares an important chapter of pre-LGBT rights that I had never considered. I had no idea how dangerous it was for gays and lesbians — particularly famous actors and directors — to be snared in vice squad roundups at known same sex pickup haunts. It went beyond careers being imperiled; they worried about being beaten close to death, or castrated in a homophobic world. It evokes memories of the Curtis Hanson-directed L.A. Confidential. Bowers, who arranged liaisons for $20 per, facilitated a discreet way for some in Hollywood to gain companionship while putting up a facade for the public. Bowers had a helluva lot of fun doing it.
Braun will also bare some footage from another Altimeter pic: the first documentary on Roy Cohn, the lawyer for Sen. Joe McCarthy and his communist witch hunt who later became a mentor for President Donald Trump.