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Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
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The film humanizes Hefner in a way no one has attempted to do before on the big screen. --Cnn
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"How can he be working for the devil and God at the same time?" asks Jenny McCarthy, Playboy Playmate of the Year 1994, author, and television personality.
She's referring, of course, to Hugh M. Hefner, the subject of the fascinating new documentary, "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel."
For over 50 years, Hefner, and the iconic men's magazine he founded in 1953 have never escaped controversy and criticism. The film, written and directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman, explores the humanitarian side of the man who some label a "pornographer."
"Humanitarian?" you ask.
Would it surprise you to know that in 1971, ACLU of Southern California named Hefner "Man of the Year"? In 1974, Hefner was honored for his "profound influence on legislative and judicial thought" by the San Francisco Criminal Bar Association? And in 1977, he received a Special Humanitarian Award from the Beverly Hills-Hollywood Chapter of the NAACP? And that his daughter Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprises between 1982-2008, established in 1979 the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the protection and enhancement of the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution?
And how about the time when Hefner utilized his private jet, the "Big Bunny," to transport a number of Vietnamese orphans around the country to deliver them to new homes? Or how he fought for racial equality in entertainment venues, breaking the color barrier for the first time so that blacks and whites could perform together on stage and on television?Read more ›
-Mike Wallace about Hugh Hefner
HUGH HEFNER/PLAYBOY/ACTIVIST/REBEL (a/k/a HUGH HEFNER: PLAYBOY, ACTIVIST AND REBEL, 2009) is a stunning and fun biographical documentary. Produced by a Canadian company, this does not shy away from Hefner's contributions to the world via "Playboy" magazine, but it doesn't dwell unfairly on it either. It is hard to believe Hef is nearing 85, the same age as Pope Benedict. For a man heavily influenced by him, a great admirer, that doesn't make me feel exactly young again - I recall Hef when he was young, his black hair flowing, and he didn't wear silk and velvet bedclothes at the time.
Who could have remembered that Hefner was a political activist, a social reformer and kicker of sacred cows? How many people knew that Hefner shaped the fabric of society from the 1950s onward? My father read the last essay written by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King - published in "Playboy". That is a typical example of the work Hefner really did, and this film explains it through the people who were there.
Dick Gregory, the great comedian (and my father suspected he was a distant relative) got his start with Hefner. In case you didn't know, Gregory is the first successful black stand-up comedian in the world. He got his start in Hefner's first club in Chicago, and like everything Hefner, no racism allowed. Mingling equally has been a hallmark of Hefner's entourage, his way of life and his personal signature.
Hefner was also a television pioneer, with an important and influential 'night club' sort of program in the 1950s and a few later programs. He always showcased the best of all talent, and was especially fond of the counter-culture.Read more ›
Good documentary and well-needed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wanted to understand his life, and I got insight. Hefner seems to be a man for the ages.Published 23 months ago by Yaphett
There were many things I did not know about this man. He's an American treasure. It's a great documentary and a piece of American history. Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by ArtMan
This dirty old creep has been making billions and billions of cash over the years because of his smut magazines. Read morePublished on December 16, 2012 by Ishmael
EXTREMELY entertaining, informative and inviting.
Gives such an insite into Hef's self being that it is no wonder he is the greatest man alive!
This shows a side of Hugh Hefner not many people know about. A must see film for fans and critics alike!!Published on September 6, 2012 by The Mrs. B
I'll admit to idolizing Hefner as a kid, but as an adult I've found his persona to be somewhat grotesque. Read morePublished on April 10, 2012 by HST
Nothing like A Canadian funded movie to prop up a Megalomaniac's ego,The Man who always wears pajams credits himself and his softcoresmut enterprise with Everything associated with... Read morePublished on March 25, 2012 by Jose Lopez
After seeing several ads in Playboy about this dvd I decided to buy it and it is one of my most favorite dvds in my library. Read morePublished on October 22, 2011 by Gary W. Crane