Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend of diving into adjacent queer and queer past titles worth watching or revisiting.
The exhibition: Tab Hunter Confidential
Leave it to documentary filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, I Am Divine) to spotlight the frustrating life and career of a former Hollywood closet with so much grace and humor. Schwarz’s documentary Tab Hunter Confidential chronicles the life of the titular actor, one of the biggest (and hottest) morning idols of the 1950s. With his blonde hair, chiseled physique and ice blue eyes, Hunter had all the makings of a big-screen megastar, except one: he was secretly gay. It goes without saying at this point that Hunter’s sexuality caused him career problems and ultimately derailed his movie stardom completely.
Shot before Hunter’s death in 2018, Tab Hunter Confidential features a treasure trove of interview topics, including Debbie Reynolds, John Waters, George Takei, Clint Eastwood, Robert Wanger, and of course, Hunter himself. The actor gives a candid glimpse into the closet of Hollywood’s golden age (Hunter does the dishes on several other occupants, including Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins, the latter posing as a vindictive and mean bitch), and the accompanying financial and emotional stress. he. Hunter, however, is rarely bitter. On the contrary, he shows extreme kindness when he talks about his film successes, his long career and takes comfort in his 35-year relationship with her boyfriend, Allen Glaser. It’s a showbiz story for the ages, full of triumph, loss, persistence and joy. Critics over the years have often dismissed Tab Hunter as just another pretty face. In Tab Hunter Confidential, he proves he’s anything but.
Streams on Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, and VUDU.