'Tab Hunter Confidential' iTunes/Digital HD Out of the Closet and Back Into the Well-Deserved Spotlight
The iTunes/Digital HD premiere of the 2015 Allan Glaser Productions documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" awesomely brings a genuine Hollywood golden boy into your living room. It further prompts those of us who bought the memoir of the same name years ago but have not gotten around to it to pulling it off the bookshelf to read it. In the case of your not-so-humble reviewer, the deadline for finishing the book is an interview with Hunter in a few days; seeing how that scamp Theo and his "Huck" fare in Las Vegas must wait a little while.
The accolades for "Confidential" include several festival circuit "Best Documentary" awards.
Glasser, who is the business and life partner of Hunter, does right by his man in (along with director Jeffrey Schwartz of the Unreal TV reviewed documentary "I Am Divine") portraying Hunter with stereotypical but sincere warmth, humor, and candor. Choosing the best charming, goofy, sexy, shirtless clips from the '50s films of Hunter is a highlight. Schwartz nicely augments these scenes with glimpses of a fresh-scrubbed coat-and-tie Hunter captivating television audiences during the golden age of that medium.
Schwartz and Glasser present this eye-candy in the context of the more serious subject of Humter being a closeted gay actor during the height of his career. Stating that he would have gone from Hollywood royalty to box office poison if that secret had come out before society was ready for Hunter to do the same sadly is incredibly true.
The title of the documentary comes from a tabloid story that Hunter believes that a bitter former business associate is behind. The article, in turn, is about a youthful indiscretion of Hunter that does not scare him straight but does teach him the importance of discretion in the Eisenhower/McCarthy era.
Additional dirt comes from hearing about the covert long-term relationship between Hunter and another nice young actor from the era.
Having Hunter narrate much of the film is a real treat. One spoiler is that he is as nice looking and charming at 85 as he is at 25. A chance to sit down for a ice cream sundae with him is well worth both a soul and a first born. (Call me, Tab. I'm in the book.)
Interviews with Hunter co-stars such as Clint Eastwood, Debbie Reynolds, and Connie Stevens (Robert Wagner fills in for the late Natalie Wood) provide terrific insight and verify that Hunter is a delight.
Additional fun comes in the form of cult film god John Waters, who casts a superb Hunter in the 1981 film "Polyester," and famously out "Star Trek" actor George Takei gushing over Hunter. Every closeted gay teen from the '50s can relate to that adoration of these boys who like boys who grew up in that era. Members of this demographic almost certainly spent hours looking at kobe-quality beefcake photos of Hunter while committing unclean acts and having impure thoughts in their heads.
Waters and Takei additionally remind us of the musical career of Hunter; learning of him once bumping Elvis off the top of the charts is awesome.
The portion of the film regarding the present life of Hunter makes good case for marriage equality. We see him and Glasser living in a beautiful home with their horse Harlow and their two dogs. Not many other straight or gay couples are this happy after more than 30 years together.
The bottom line is that this fairy tale in which two princes have a happy ending is a good film for everyone from 8-to-80.