The Fabulous Allan Carr celebrates the life of the famed producer and helps cement his legacy once and for all.
Allan Carr was described by those who knew him as being flamboyant. This was typically a code that he was a gay man but he never came out. While the film does discuss his sexuality and it being an open secret, it also celebrates his life. Credit to director Jeffrey Schwarz for tackling Carr’s sexuality in the best way possible. The film doesn’t just up and say it but leaves it to those who knew him.
If not for Carr, Grease would have never became one of the biggest films released in 1978. Frank DeCaro described Grease as being a “hetero fantasy but it was filtered through a gay sensibility.” It’s a fascinating way to frame to musical, whose film adaptation celebrates forty years in 2018.
Here was this kid from Chicago that went on to find his calling in the 1960s. He started up a talent agency in the 1960s before helping manage the campaign of Saturday Night Fever. Next up would be Grease, where Carr recieved a writing credit for the adaptation and served as one of the film’s producer. Carr’s experience was one of the big reasons as to why the film did so well. The worldwide success from Grease enabled Carr to bring La Cage Aux Folles to Broadway. It’s amazing how one musical could impact a life but it did.
Through animated footage, the film discusses the history behind Can’t Stop The Music. There were several actresses considered for the leading role: Jacqueline Bisset, Olivia Newton-John, Cher, and Raquel Welch. None were interested so the role went to Valerie Perrine.
One of my biggest issues with the film, premiering in 2017, was the treatment of Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner may be a high profile transgender woman but this is no excuse for all the deadnaming and misgendering in interviews. While the film did start production in 2015, the filmmakers surely had plenty of time to go back and get new interviews so that the pronouns are respected. It’s very telling for a documentary when the filmmakers can’t even do that much. It’s disrespectful to the transgender community in that regard and makes for some cringe-worthy viewing. The archival footage with Carr is one thing but to not have Caitlyn named and gendered correctly is another.
Told by those who knew Allan Carr, The Fabulous Allan Carr is a brilliant look at a man who became known for throwing lavish parties and it didn’t matter what your beliefs were.
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Schwarz
FEATURING: Patricia Birch, Maxwell Caulfield, Steve Guttenberg, Nikki Haskell, Randy Jones, Randal Kleiser, Sherry
Lansing, Lorna Luft, Michael Musto, Robert Osborne, Brett Ratner, Connie Stevens, Alana Stewart, Marlo Thomas, Bruce Vilanch, Gregg Kilday
Released by Automat Pictures, The Fabulous Allan Carr is now available on DVD and VOD platforms.