THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR (2017)

 

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Directed By: Jeffrey Schwarz
Cinematography By: Jeff Byrd, Matt May & Keith Walker
Editor: Jeffrey Schwarz & Carl Pfirman 


Featuring: Steve Guttenberg, Lorna Luft, Maxwell Caulfield, Valerie Perrine, Marlo Thomas, Connie Stevens, Brett Ratner, Bruce Vilanch, Sherry Lansing 


Armed with a limitless Rolodex and a Benedict Canyon enclave with its own disco, Allan Carr threw the Hollywood parties that defined the 1970’s. A producer, manager and marketing genius, Carr built his bombastic reputation amid a series of successes including the mega hit musical film GREASE and the Broadway sensation LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, until it all came crashing down after he produced the notorious debacle of the 1989 Academy Awards.

The movie addresses all of his accolades which were producing GREASE, which was his high mark and shows his storied career in producing first Ann Margaret’s career and then eventually films such as THE FIRST TIME, C.C & COMPANY, GREASE 2, WHERE THE BOYS ARE ‘84 and CLOAK & DAGGER (which strangely is never mentioned in the documentary)

Infamously he also produced the 1989 academy awards and introduced some new traditions but the show was derided and a flop and that was a career killer for a while for him. We see what went wrong in all it’s Glory.

It also shows his flamboyant side drugs are mentioned but no one Goes too much into it.

One mistake the documentary makes is they say is that after MOMENT BY MOMENT John Travolta never had a hot movie nor did his career get hit again until PULP FICTION. Where as he usually had a comeback every few years in the form of movies like URBAN COWBOY and LOOK WHO’S TALKING. But it serves the narrative better here for those uninformed.

Though one will admit John Travolta did falter a bunch for the movies he took and am amazed by the movies he either turned down or dropped out of, which if he had made don’t know he would be more iconic or if his career would have gone a different way. Movies such as AMERICAN GIGOLO and DAYS OF HEAVEN.

The documentary is filmed with plenty Talking heads and plenty of archive photos and footage from interviews and showbiz tabloids. Though the film does give you a fair and balanced portrait of him that never feels too deep but certainly informative.

Mr. Carr was Openly gay which was rare and something that wasn’t Talked about but was known or assumed.

How one can agree and see his vision of trying to bring the 1940’s style movies and movie stars back into style and worshipping old Screen icons. Trying to make Hollywood and his productions glamorous. Even as they tried to stay tied to the times they Were made.

Though it also shows the beginning of marketing of the past for nostalgia’s sake and it being profitable but also the last bestiaries and destruction of the old Hollywood system.

As it is barely holding on at the time and this new Hollywood coming in. Not even being able to make a hip fad movie starring THE village people and Mismanaging it trying to make it more then it ever was really. Dating themselves from the audience and audiences realizing they deserved better and a little more respect.

One of his achievements was bringing the French play. LA CAGE AUX FILLES to the United States and made it a hit Broadway musical that was the original concept for the eventual film THE BIRDCAGE. Even though the play had been a French film beforehand.

The documentary is intoxicating and based on the book. I haven’t read the book but find Mr Carr an entertaining subject and person to read about. The film fully illuminates someone who was more behind the scenes but not only was certainly a character, but achieved what he so desperately dreamed of… he made his mark in Hollywood.

Grade: B-

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