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See the inside of the inside: Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Aug 28, 2018

A little more in-depth leering  would have made this tell-all better than it is.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Grade: C+

Director: Matt Trynauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor)

Cast: Scotty Bauers, Stephen Fry

Rating: Unrated

Runtime: 1 hr 38 min

by John DeSando

Scotty Bauers’ book about his business as a Hollywood procurer in his book, Full Service, is a prelude to this not-quite-salacious documentary about his life servicing the sexual needs of mid-century Hollywood elite, especially the gay ones. Although Scotty’s personal life is disorganized and cluttered, his procuring activity as Hollywood’s “pimp to the stars” was universally acclaimed by those who used his services.

Getting dates, or providing “ an introduction service” as Scotty calls it, for the likes of Walter Pidgeon and George Cukor was all in a day’s work for the Hollywood Blvd. Richfield Gas Station attendant he was while he arranged liaisons there and around town. This brief explanation of the documentary might make it seem juicy, but I assure you it is not quite that. Despite the cast of characters in need of same sex dates like Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, most of Scotty’s revelations are not new and hardly in depth.

Randolph Scott, Tyrone Power, Cole Porter, and Charles Laughton are among the others who used Scotty’s services, including his own. His three-way adventure with sex goddesses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner is one of the more alluring bits of gossip, but again only a fleeting mention. Those limited details are what make this a superficial if not charming doc.

Most of the doc centers on Scotty, now 94, an impish gossip whose obvious aging seems the opposite of the well-kept elderly like Cary Grant, who appears several times as a young gay star guarding his orientation better than Rock Hudson. As Scotty shows us the dumpy houses where he stores his personal junk, this inveterate collector is just not that interesting; you’d think he must have some stars’ memorabilia—not.

Although director Matt Trynauer jazzes it up with male frontal nudity and vintage Hollywood footage, Scotty’s shuffling senescence lends the dusty mood of an old album full of his photos and too few of Hollywood stars. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood guards those secrets too well for my adolescent-like curiosity.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com