Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon

The hot, new, fagtastic documentary hitting the gay film festival circuit this year is Jeffrey Schwarz's "Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon" a portrait of the 70's gay porn icon Jack Wrangler and his transformation from gay porn king to heterosexual husband of legendary singer Margaret Whiting and a new career as a director of legitimate theater productions. If you're a gay man over say, 40 to 45, you're well aware of who Jack Wrangler is; he was his era's Jeff Styker/Ryan Idol/Francois Sagat.

I haven't seen any reviews of this film yet; it opens June 7th as part of NewFest, the New York LGBT Film Festival and is scheduled to play later in the month at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival. Unless it gets a national release before October, which I doubt, I'm guessing it will be a feature presentation at the Seattle LGBT Festival in the fall. The film has an interesting line-up of talking heads: Wrangler's wife Margaret Whiting, Broadway composer Marc Shaiman, columnist Michael Musto, porn directors Chi Chi LaRue and Joe Gage, and porn stars Samantha Fox, Sharon Mitchell and Gloria Leonard. Sadly, the only co-stars who seem to be in this film are the few women he appeared with in a handful of straight films he made towards the end of his porno career, (Wrangler lost his hetero cherry on film). The majority of the male actors he worked with, died of AIDS, and the only commentators from his gay films seems to be two of the directors he worked with, Joe Gage and Jerry Douglas.

I'm sure at some point in the film we'll hear Margaret Whiting's classic response to Jack's question when their romance began to heat up:

Wrangler: But, Margaret honey, how can we have a relationship? I'm gay!

Whiting: Only on the edges, dear...

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