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  • adamshl21 March 2015
    This new film held the audience spellbound at the 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival. It was especially effective having the actual subject serve as narrator. Hunter's narration was very honest, truthful and insightful. His voice was sonorous, statements rich in humor and warmth, and his attitude toward himself rather laid back.

    The photography and direction was of a high level with editing that kept the pacing alive and energized. Besides looking at the main subject, the film also revealed a candid slice of the film industry of the 50s-- qualities still with us in 2015 (the film's release year).

    Hunter had more of a varied career than one might normally think--he played a variety of parts (particularly some stark TV dramas) and kept a cool attitude throughout. The film also reveals the actor's relationship with his mother and his rich past time with horses.

    All in all, a very engaging biopic.
  • Caught the London screening. The place was packed, not an empty seat in the house, and Mr. Hunter received a thunderous well-deserved standing ovation.

    This is one of the best celebrity biography docs for a long time, and will bring to a new, younger audience the reality of how the old Hollywood studio system manipulated its stars for their own corporate gain.

    In Tab Hunter Confidential, Mr. Hunter narrates, sharing his insightful and honest view of the Hollywood star-making system of the 50s and his personal rise, success, frustration and fall at Warner Brothers Studios. With self-deprecating humor and warmth, Mr. Hunter reflects on the policies, plans and politics of the studio which dictated how to live in and survive the public life of a movie star, generating popularity and the adoration of his fans. He combines this with honest reflections of his closeted life as a gay man when the word gay did not even exist at the time. Mr. Hunter's frank and authentic portrait of his loves, his family and his faith are complicated, moving and intelligently presented.

    Kudos to getting this fascinating autobiography onto the screen with taste and elegance.
  • A thoroughly captivating life and career story of a multi-talented actor, equestrian, figure skater and beloved star. Tab Hunter reminisces about his early life and well documented career in this beautifully produced and directed film. Tab Hunter, Confidential feels more like a conversation with a good friend than a documentary. Clearly respected amongst his peers, numerous well-known stars share insights into their lifelong friendships forged from within the ups and downs of the film community. The film makes great use of clips, publicity stills and promotional memorabilia as a reminder of the scope of his popularity. In addition, highlighting his success as an equestrian - which continues to this day - was a great insight into Tab's life away from the screen. His clear enjoyment of working in a sport that centered on the training and handling of an animal was a window into his desire to be able to get outside of his image and career, a passion that deflected focus off of himself. An afternoon well spent with a Hollywood good guy content with his life. Wonderfully done. Don't miss it.
  • Tab Hunter has a life story no one else but he could do justice telling.

    Thankfully, he's done it first with a book (2005) and now a very moving documentary.

    This beautifully produced and directed film cleverly takes the viewer into his confidence touring his amazing life journey over 8 decades. The compelling stories he lets us in on are told with honesty, taste, wit, self-deprecation and a humility that is sadly uncommon in this 21st century of self-absorption and self-promotion. The secret almost all viewers will want to know about is not that during his intense fame he was a closeted gay man, a dangerous situation in the rigid era of the 1950's that led many to self-destruction. The real revelation that comes over you while watching this unique story is the focus, faith and character Hunter has and how he got it. It would give him the ability to endure all the seasons of his fame and his personal life challenges.

    He was a product of "the studio system" during its twilight years when moguls like Jack Warner had total control over its movies and stars. For Tab that was sometimes a blessing or a curse. What becomes clear early on is whatever Tab Hunter put his focus on - acting, professional ice skating or horse riding - he always became a master at. The documentary has something for everyone interested in movie history, social mores, pop culture and most importantly - how someone can maintain dignity and character throughout a life with compromises that could have sent anyone else off a cliff.
  • Saw this film at the Berkshire FF and can't wait to see it again in Provincetown, MA. Mr. Hunter and Mr. Glaser received standing "O" at the end of the film and at their appearance for the Q and A's. For all of the intricacies of storytelling (it covers Hollywood history, Tab's personal history and struggles and the resolution he has come to) the film flows seamlessly. It is fascinatingly illustrated with studio stills, film clips, interviews and personal snapshots. Tab narrates the film, and his "concentration" as he looks at us is mesmerizing. He has shared incredible insights with his audience about his fame, his loves, his family....occasionally with a delightful, self-deprecating twinkle. Profoundly, however, it is his success as a human being that will touch us most.
  • Tab Hunter Confidential is based on the actor's 'tell-it-all' book. Don't expect a Hollywood version of 'Dorian Grey'; of a young drop-dead Adonis who, at 85, has lost his looks. Far from it, he may be an 'old man', but he has exercised his druthers throughout his life to let us into his closeted life.

    Today, we cannot imagine the Hollywood of the Eisenhower era, when young premiers like Hunter captured the hearts of millions of young girls (and boys).

    Director Jeffrey Schwarz has smartly recovered those days of the '50s through studio photographs, magazines and Hunter's films.

    Hunter had piercing blue eyes that held you as though against your will; his smile, his seemingly white perfect teeth sparkled, and his bare muscled chest aroused strange feelings of pleasure that in those days, if publicly expressed, would not garner approval.

    And what's more, Hunter plied his trade through hard work and an inner enthusiasm that made him a star. As his fellow actor Robert Wagner remarked he was a spark that caught fire, for his role in the film version of Leon Uris' bestseller 'Battle Cry'. In a way, his Danny Forrester commits adultery with an officer's wife, a no-no subject of those days, which to a moderate degree stepped on the Screen Code.

    He was under contract to Warner Brothers, and Jack Warner used all the studio's resources to bolster his career.

    Tab Hunter had talent as clips from Playhouse 90, a live television show, that proved he was a 90-day wonder, nor go against teenybopper idol type. Furthermore, he had a talent for song: his version of 'Young Love' (which Pat Boone also sang) stayed on the charts at number 1 got six weeks, knocking even Elvis off his pedestal.

    He had a short-lived television, that bombed for its mindlessness.

    But Hunter had a secret: he was a homosexual, when, homosexuality was, according to medical authority, a mental disease. Tightly locked in his closet, Warner Brothers publicity department did everything to project an image of him as a boy any mother would want for her daughter. Anything and everything was done to protect the studio's cash cow!

    For a good idea of 'gay' Hollywood way back then, it is worthwhile to see Bill Condon's 'Gods and Monsters'.

    The secret got out in the tabloids when he left his agent, and his career dried up when he bought himself out of his contract. As his career dried up, he was forced to take any role he could in very bad films. He found financial stability in equestrianism and dinner theater, but at a price on his health. The strain of doing that form of acting that rewards him handsomely but left him little time for a life was costly, and in early middle age he had a heart attack, and subsequently left the theatre.

    We get a glimpse of Hunter's love life, that is, as much as he wishes to tell us; he had a good/so-so-good tumble with Anthony Perkins. And at 53, he found his long-time companion Allan Glaser, who produced 'Tab Hunter Confidential'.

    Abandoned by his father, he was the good son who took care of his mother who had severe mental problems until she died well into advanced age. Brought up a Catholic, he eventually made peace with his church.

    The spark of his career flamed up again when paired by John Waters with Divine in 'Polyester' and more so in 'Lust in the Dust'. But by then, Hunter sought his life in the comfort of his privacy, making rare appearances.

    Lightly touched on is his champion-like ability as an ice skater, other than his affair with a star ice skater. And nary a word is spoken of the utter disaster that was in performance with Tallulah Bankhead in Tennessee Williams 'Under Milk Wood'.

    Eighty-five this July, Hunter has had a full live, a lover of more than 30 years, 30 years his junior, and takes daily pleasure in caring for his horse and riding. Stiff with that stiffness old age brings, he is at peace with himself and looks back on his life with a keen eye and an blue eye on the morrow.
  • I had the privilege of viewing the uncut version last year with Allan and Tab and I am so completely impressed with the finished and so professionally done final product.I saw it at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in La Jolla several nights ago and once again ( as obviously has been the "norm), Tab and Allan and Jeffrey got a standing ovation. It was interesting to stand outside as the earlier showing people exited and hearing them rave about it. The same thing happened after the showing we watched. They deserve all the kudos they are getting as I was captivated from beginning to end and Tab's narration was so heart warming and truthful . I have known him around 50 yrs and I learned more about him with every sentence . You could just feel the emotion in every word he said. I will never get tired of watching it and will attend the Middleburg, VA Film Festival to watch it again. Can't wait for everyone to see and experience what Tab endured on his way to his current peace and happy life with his soul completely bared . My only disappointment is you never get to see enough of what a truly gifted horseman he really is and was. Loved the whole thing !!
  • Tab Hunter was almost certainly the best looking actor ever to grace a movie screen and one of the few major players ever to come out as gay. His book, "Tab Hunter, Confidential" is a hugely readable account of Hollywood in the fifties and now it's been turned into a brilliant and moving documentary by filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz. Watching this, two things struck me about Mr Hunter; on a purely superficial level, for a man in his mid-eighties, he's still incredibly handsome, (and certainly doesn't look his age). Secondly he comes across as one hell of a nice guy, a man to be deeply admired for staying true to himself.

    Like Tab's book, Schwarz's film is, of course, a great portrait of Hollywood, (even if there is something gruesome about seeing old movie stars who haven't weathered the years quite as well as Tab has), but it's also refreshing to see these people talk so openly and honestly about Tab's sexuality in the knowledge that Tab is more than happy for them to do so.

    Could he act? Most definitely, though he was never given a part that really stretched him, (it's just a pity that "Gunman's Walk" was never taken that seriously). Maybe if he had been more successful it would have been a lot harder for him to be as open but his honesty, and not just about his sexuality, but about his talent, (and he was also a champion show-jumper and a fine figure skater), and his career makes this one of the best films of its kind I've seen.
  • Documentary on closeted matinée idol Tab Hunter (born Arthur Kelm, later Arthur Gelien) is a wonderful record of the journey the actor took to Hollywood in the 1950s, through Hollywood in the '60s, and back from Hollywood in the '70s. From his teenage days being chased around his high school by smitten female students, Hunter was shy talking about himself and completely private when it came to matters of the heart...and nothing has changed! Though this project was co-produced by his partner of 30 years, Allan Glaser, Hunter is still reticent discussing his homosexuality and the relationships this produced. Fortunately, there are a bevy of acquaintances, co-stars, columnists and friends on hand to lend their insights into Hunter's career, and the well-researched movie and television clips provide amusing nostalgia. Do we get a no-holds-barred glimpse into the faded celebrity of a handsome Hollywood movie star? No, but the benign, matter-of-fact way in which Hunter recalls his life is probably more entertaining (if not emotional) than a soul-searching therapy session might be. Hunter has come to terms with himself and his past, and he's happy to trot off quietly on his horse into the sunset. His movie career has been capped nicely by both his 2006 memoir and this film: a once-famous name and face who now enjoys the finer things in life. *** from ****
  • Kudos to director Allan Glaser for expanding this powerful bio-film to include facts about Mr. Hunter's personal life struggles and not focusing entirely on just his Hollywood film career. The result is an entertaining and emotionally touching film about a man who is much deeper than one might assume. His strength of character shines through in his candid discussions about being a heartthrob for teenage girls while living a secret life as a gay man during the 1950s. For the first time Mr. Hunter talks about the father he never knew, his mother's mental illness and his faith in God and the church even after the church seemingly rejected him because of his openness and honesty. Tab Hunter is a survivor and this is one Hollywood story with a happy ending.
  • Are you seriously looking for the ultimate, Hollywood-celebrity "Coming Out" documentary?

    Well - Believe me when I tell ya - "Tab Hunter: Confidential" is a true-life, tell-all tale that's not likely to disappoint.

    Born Arthur Andrew Kelm in New York City (1931) - Tab Hunter (with his boyish good looks and sweet-as-apple-pie smile) was an almost immediate "heart-throb" sensation when (in 1950) he was first cast as Frank O'Brien in "The Lawless".

    Through 100s of stills, excellent archival footage, and interviews, not only with Tab, himself (84 at the time), but also with those who worked around him, as well - This slick, informative, and very entertaining bio-documentary (impressively directed by Jeffrey Schwarz) is, without question, a sure-fire winner - Indeed - No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
  • I must say up front that I am not particularly a fan of Tab Hunter's films. I've seen a few and must admit he is a very beautiful man but I've never been a fan. Additionally, I am not gay. But despite both of these things, I do recommend you watch this biography as it's entertaining and well worth your keep this in mind when you consider watching this film which recently debuted on Netflix.

    The film is quite simply the story of actor Tab Hunter's life. It follows his journey as an actor as well as a religious man struggling with being gay. Along the way, you learn that there is much more to him than being a homosexual...and he has what appears to be a happy and full life. Overall, very entertaining and a film that will leave you liking and appreciating this artist much, much more. Very well made and compelling viewing.
  • ferguson-615 October 2015
    Greetings again from the darkness. "Made it, Ma. Top of the world!" That line was famously bellowed by James Cagney in the 1949 film WHITE HEAT, and it reasonably could have been shouted behind closed doors, a few years later, by Tab Hunter. Of course, that wouldn't have been the only thing Mr. Hunter was keeping behind those doors. In his 2005 autobiography, he came out publicly as a gay man. Director Jeffrey Schwarz takes that book, and puts a very forthcoming Mr. Hunter in front of the camera, to deliver a fascinating, entertaining and educational glimpse at what it was like to be a movie and musical superstar at a time when being a gay man was not just a social taboo, but actually considered a mental illness.

    Normally, "talking head" documentaries quickly become tiresome, but now in his 80's, Mr. Hunter remains an engaging and delightful man, and he is so sincere and upfront in telling his stories, that we couldn't possibly turn away. In addition, director Schwarz drops in interviews from those who were there. These include: Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens, Robert Wagner (filling in his for his deceased wife Natalie Wood), John Waters, George Takei, and Robert Osborne. Each recall moments from real life, with the studio publicity romances (Reynolds, Stevens, Wood) providing the touch of melancholy that brings focus to the matter at hand.

    Another entertaining touch added by Schwarz is his use of actual dialogue snippets from Hunter's films to deliver punch to a point – sometimes comedic, sometimes more serious. Never succumbing to the career retrospective approach, the film does offer significant film clips, photographs and recollections of Hunter's unique career that found him #1 at the Box Office, as well as #1 on the Pop Music Charts (his recording of "Young Love" knocked Elvis off the top of the charts).

    The film could also serve as a historical documenting of the Hollywood Studio system, as Hunter's success with Warner Brothers was never to be duplicated once he gained his contractual release (through buyout). We do go through the career re-birth brought about by Hunter's work in the John Waters offbeat classic POLYSTER, where the former matinée idol finds himself making out on screen with Divine, the 300 pound transvestite who was a fixture in Waters' films. Surprisingly, it's Hunter's fearless approach to the material that makes it click.

    But beyond the Hollywood insight, the film is most effectively the story of a man who, because of his era, had to be one person in public and another behind the closed doors. Hunter describes this as "being rewarded for pretending to be someone you aren't". He speaks frankly about his relationship with Anthony Perkins, as well as a couple of other serious relationships. We also learn about his childhood, when he had an abusive father and was close to his older brother, who later died in Vietnam. Hunter speaks of being "lost as a kid". Beyond the Hollywood years, it's fascinating to hear Hunter speak of his time on the Dinner Theatre circuit, where he put up with the travel and drudgery so that he could pay the bills and care for his sick mother. We also learn that in addition to his staggering good looks, his on screen appeal, and his musical talent, Hunter was also a world class figure skater and competitive equestrian horse jumper. Yep, Tab Hunter is pretty much the guy we would all despise … if he just wasn't so darned nice and likable!
  • A fascinating look at a Hollywood that no longer exists through the eyes of one of it's biggest stars. For those who have only heard the name Tab Hunter and know nothing of his career you're in for a treat. Tab shares a sincere, open and honest look at his life from the heights of stardom to the darkest days of loosing a beloved brother, mother and a career.

    This film weaves through the life and times of a celebrity you truly like getting to know. With candor and grace Tab generously shares with us his most meaningful relationships and how they impacted not only his private, but his very public life and career.

    Tab, with great humility takes us on journey through an extraordinary life that very few have or ever will experience. It was a pleasure getting to know him. Bittersweet and unexpectedly emotional on so many levels.
  • barttanner29 September 2016
    Before seeing the film, I had read Mr. Hunter's autobiography 5 or 6 years ago. Unlike the book this film seems to capture not only the essence of a movie star, but the odyssey of a human life with purpose, determination and finding inner love and peace. It's apparent that his friends and colleagues respect the man as well as the celebrity. I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys a life story with a great narrative. I thoroughly liked when the film did not shy away from issues that are topical in today's market, such as the media trying to find a story that is not genuine. One of the best 90 minutes one could spend and learn about show business.
  • Tab Hunter Confidential is a wonderful documentary - basically an interview with the man himself, peppered with film and television clips, photos, magazines, and reminiscences about the ups and downs of Hollywood stardom.

    Urged into acting by his friend and later agent Dick Clayton, Hunter was signed by Henry Willson, who had many youngsters like Hunter. Willson promptly changed his name from Art Gelien to Tab Hunter. Hunter learned acting by acting, and eventually was signed by Warner Brothers, who built him up and publicized him. He became one of the hottest teen idols of the '50s as a result. Not that he didn't have other abilities - he could sing, he was a champion ice skater, and an expert horseman.

    He also was gay, and the studio protected him. When he bought out his Warners contract, he found out he was fair game for the tabloids; not only that, but leaving Warners was a big mistake career-wise. After a few years of low-budget films and dinner theater, he found his way back via John Waters and Divine.

    Hunter today is as charming and appealing as ever, a handsome, grounded man with a keen sense of humor and insight about Hollywood and being gay in the '50s.

    He touches on some of his relationships and talks about his mother and his older brother.

    One of the most interesting things he talks about is the change in "types" and how his type - the all-American boy -- had to move over for the anti-hero. First it was the classic, heroic look, the handsomer the better, then the bad boys, then the ethnic stars mostly thanks to "The Godfather" -- and then the pretty boys came back.

    Director Jeffrey Schwartz has done an excellent job of keeping this documentary moving quickly and helping to make it both interesting and informative.

    This is a must-see for anyone interested in classic films or the old stars. Tab Hunter is an excellent interview, and it's easy to see why all those teens found him so darned appealing.
  • The real reason i rather enjoyed this biopic was simple. This was a guy who is just a decent man. Extremely talented...had no idea he was a figure skater or horseman. I never saw him as a incredibly handsome man...guess he isn't my type, but i really enjoyed listening to his comments.

    For once, someone who is down to earth and not outlandish or known for antics and acting up. Just a decent human being with his faults, but also obvious virtues.

    Its worth watching....not too many like this anymore. I really miss real, insightful and honest people on TV anymore.
  • This is a great documentary. It is not a boring account of the numbers of movies he made or records he sold or a fan girl rant about the greatness of Hollywood and its possibly handsomest leading man. This is a very true story of someone who was down, then up, then down again and back up. He did not let himself become part of the Hollywood problem that had to be kept secret. He broke away and did Polyester and Lust in the Dust after Hollywood had thrown him into the scrap heap of old pretty but wrinkled toys. His ice skating and love of horses and other scenes show that he was a real person, not just management's flavor of the month. Hooray for Tab Hunter. We need many more like him.
  • This is a remarkable documentary not only about the extraordinary life of a very popular teen idol but about the movie industry itself during the height of Tab Hunter's film career. Although I grew up during the 50's and 60's, I realized while I was watching this film that I wasn't very familiar with the films in which Tab Hunter appeared, but I am nevertheless very impressed by his ability to overcome many obstacles throughout his life. In the end, he succeeded at everything he pursued and lived a very productive and fulfilling life. What saddened me was the realization, once again, of how quickly life passes us by and that someone so vibrant and charismatic as Tab Hunter could be gone from the world, having recently died at the age of 86 in 2018. For me, this was the saddest aspect of this film. I was not sad for Tab as an individual because, in the end, he lived a very full and rewarding life. He never once cast himself as a victim. He just kept moving forward, whether he was on the ice, on horseback, or in front of the camera.

    Raised by a single mom who had to struggle to provide for her two sons, Hunter managed to overcome many disadvantages, including a father who abused his mother and never possessed the slightest emotional attachment to his own sons. Hunter's reliance on his older brother, Walter, for guidance throughout a difficult youth was very significant, making Walter's early death in Vietnam all the more tragic.

    Once the Warner Brothers studio identified Hunter as a lucrative source of revenue, it claimed him as one more item among its accumulated treasure of precious property and did all that it could to protect his private life, including his sexuality, from public scrutiny at a time when homosexuality was not only illegal but considered totally unacceptable by society in general. When he left the protective shelter of the studio, he was forced to fend for himself, even when he was sacrificed to the sharks of the tabloids so that another homosexual star, Rock Hudson, still owned and controlled by the studio, remained out of the line of fire.

    Although I can't exactly call myself a fan of Tab Hunter's movies, this illustration of his life enabled me to appreciate very much Mr. Hunter as a human being. He not only succeeded in overcoming many disadvantages during his life, but he actually thrived in the face of them, thanks to his commendable, positive attitude and his deep, unshakeable faith, both which I found very inspiring.

    Even before I started watching this film, I knew that any endeavor involving Eddie Muller, the "czar of noir", would be worthwhile. I may not know too much about the movies of Tab Hunter, but I watch Eddie on Turner Classic Movies all the time and very much appreciate his excellent command of the English language and, of course, his passion not only for the film noir genre but for classic films in general. I have learned much from Mr. Muller over the past few years, and this documentary stands as one more very valuable lesson among many. Thank you, Eddie!
  • preppy-312 July 2019
    Documentary about Tab Hunter narrated by him. It shows how he became a star and highlights various movies and TV shows he did. Also during the feature they cut to other actors who relate what they think of Hunter. It also deals with his being secretly gay. Hunter is quite honest about everything and laid-back with some very funny moments. It also gets into his ex boyfriends--particularly Anthony Perkins. A thoroughly fascinating documentary. There's also a book with the same title which goes a little more in depth.
  • Fascinating. The star still shines. Some older gay actors are reluctant to talk about their experiences so thank you Mr Hunter. This will help young gay people coming to terms with their sexuality today. Includes interviews with stars like Don Murray, Terry Moore, Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens, Darryl Hickman, George Takei - all looking great too!
  • The titular Hollywood heartthrob of the 1950s is the subject of this documentary which charts his family life, career, philosophies, and the challenges with being gay during that most infamous decade of repression and conformity.

    The structure of the film is mostly Hunter's narration mixed with interviews with many who knew and worked with him. There is also a fabulous collection of footage that is cleverly displayed. This is not a surprise as the director is Jeffrey Schwarz who did such a wonderful job with "Vito" (2011).

    Normally, it would be a liability to have one person's narration as the main focus of the film. In the case of this film, such a choice turned out to be an asset. This is because of Hunter's charm, sincerity, and modesty.

    The narration of his career is thorough and intriguing. While it does include stories about his secret gay life, I was left with a yearning to know more on this topic. However, the reluctance to share more of this information is fitting with the overall story: Hunter was raised to keep his private life private. This lingering trait would also have been necessary to help him get through such a difficult time relatively unscathed.

    This intriguing film can leave one with a curiosity regarding those in the same situation as Hunter including Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins (with whom Hunter had a secret relationship). Hudson and Perkins both died of AIDS. Not only did Hunter escape this fate; he also avoided the fall into drugs and alcohol when his career waned. How, in God's name, did he do it?

    Unlike Hudson and Perkins, Hunter never went so far as to marry a woman to hide his identity. He also seemed to have a spiritual nature that helped him to detach from the trappings of fame. His prime acting years were during a time when homosexual characters, when rarely portrayed in movies, had to meet a tragic death by the end as per production codes. Having lived a happily ever after life, it seems that Tab Hunter was, in the end, able to thumb his nose at that mindset. Good on him.

    "Tab Hunter Confidential" could also be a fine companion piece with the superb documentary, "The Celluloid Closet" (1995).