SXSW Film 2015 Review: TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL

By Jan Hamilton

Rating: A-

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Producer: Allan Glaser, Neil Koenigsberg, Jeffrey Schwarz
Cinematographer: Nancy Schreiber
Editor: Jeffrey Schwarz
Music: Michael “The Millionaire” Cudahy
Additional Credits: Co-Producer: John Boccardo, Main Titles & Graphic Design: Grant Nellessen, Associate Producer: Jon Glover
Principal Cast: Tab Hunter, John Waters, Clint Eastwood, George Takei, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Portia de Rossi, Noah Wyle, Connie Stevens, Robert Osborne
The name TAB HUNTER brings to mind the manufactured stars of the 50’s and 60’s, lightweight talents with beautiful tans and teeth. When I saw the feature documentary at 2015’s SXSW, that was my preconception, and it was quickly erased by the film. Mr. Hunter tells his story in his own words, he is at peace with himself and his Hollywood career.
A product of the studio system, Tab enjoyed early success. With the protection of Warner Brothers Studios, any gossip about his private life was debunked and dismissed. An early arrest at a private party was swept under the rug. As it is not yet possible to be openly gay to be an “A-list” leading man in today’s Hollywood, it was much less possible then.
A very private person, Tab here displays the depth and sensitivity that was missing from his early roles. His wish to grow and succeed in his chosen career was accomplished with a lot of hard work, and is evident as one views his later film and TV work. His love of his family and his less-than-accepting Catholic religion is also apparent.
Now retired and happy in a thirty year relationship, he indulges his life-long love of horseback riding. The documentary is pleasant trip, full of interviews of his contemporaries and well worth your time. Grade:A-.
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