Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon
Gay Cinema - Biography
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Long before Jeff Stryker and Michael Lucas, Jack Wrangler was the number one name in gay porn, and his wild, unpredictable career and life is recounted in this funny, smart and sexy documentary.
- Director's Commentary
- Jack Wrangler Interview Outtakes
- TLA Releasing Trailers
Condenses the fascinating sprawl of Wrangler's life into a neat, bulging package! --Philadelphia City Paper
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one the of most explosive, controversial and pioneering icons of
1970's gay porn, and do it without my review getting rejected for
being inappropriate or lewd? (Cracks knuckles, clears throat!)
Okay, I'll give it a go!---Jack Wrangler was a galvanizing as well as
tantalizing figure to millions of gay men in a time when the gay community
was coming into it's own on the world stage and searching for icons to identify itself.
Here he was, this beautiful, virile, MASCULINE white man with washboard abs,
golden hair, the voice, the smile, and of course.. shall we say, THE GOODS!! (-:
He forever shattered the stereotype of the weak effeminate sissy who couldn't
defend himself, wore his mother's clothes, etc., which had been drilled into the
minds of mainstream society as well as many an isolated shame-filled gay man
who had been shunned, beaten up, and pushed far back into the closet!
Born into a very wealthy Beverly Hills family, he grew up alongside the spawn of
the old hollywood elite. But Jack Wrangler was a different kind of guy who could
move between the world's of the Hollywood elite and the low brow world of the
gay street life in L.A. during the 1960's. Trying to capitalize on his looks,
chiseled physique and Hollywood pedigree, he made a foray into the world of legit
movies in 1968. He did a few roles here and there, but nothing that made a big splash
or would've alerted the movie world that a new master thespian was on the horizon!
The thing that struck me about Jack in this docu-bio was his complete candor
and total lack of guile while telling his story!
He was really a decent guy who you could've approached and befreinded.
He made a move to NYC in 1969 to try to get into the broadway acting scene to gain
some credibility in his chosen craft, but very soon realized that he was a big fish
way out of his native pond in cold, dirty & competitive New York City!
He moved back to L.A., and some time during the early 70's, when porn chic had become all
the rage, and both the gay liberation and sexual revolution were in full tilt,
he emerged as JACK WRANGLER!!--America's first gay porn icon!
He made countless gay porn flicks, many of which have become classics,
had legions of male fans, did strip shows and lectures across the country,
and was celebrated all over!--And the ladies dug him too! (-:
They provide very good video clips and footage throughout this documentary.
I was noticing while seeing it, that some of the fictional "Boogie Nights"
character "Dirk Diggler" was based partly on John Holmes and partly on Jack Wrangler.
Anywayz, ol' Jack was partying hard 70's style, making hit films and having
a gay old time, when he decided to do something that shocked and alienated
many of his devout gay fans....he decided to make the switch to straight porn!
(GASP!!--Oh no, he di-in't!!) Many of the female porn stars of the time lined
up to have their chance to work with Jack Wrangler, and to experience
his GIFTS first hand! (-: He made several well-recieved "straight-for-pay"
films and gained many friends within the straight porn industry for his
professionalism and machine-like dependability!
As if his gay fans weren't already confused enough, he then ups the antie
and gets MARRIED!!--Yes, to a woman!---Yikes!
This was quite the dinner party conversation, and many scoffed & made cruel jokes.
But Margaret Whiting, a successful singer from the early 50's was convinced she
had found her man, and knew all about his "shenanigans" despite the pleas of her
then teenaged daughter and all of her freinds! (Clutch the pearls, honey!!)
Jack was ever honest and completely identified himself as a gay man (with bi tendencies).
He told her that he didn't think a marriage would work, but Margaret wasn't hearing it!
The two were married and went through alot of ups and downs, but stayed together for
over 25 yrs until Jack's death earlier this year. The one thing that his marriage did
save him from was the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic in the early & mid 80's!
Both Jack & Margaret lost alot of dear freinds and collegues to the vicious virus!
They spent time in AIDS wards and hospices, trying to bring comfort and relief to
the many victims of the disease and also spent a great deal of money as well.
Through it all, Jack Wrangler never forgot who he was and remained a decent,
funny and very affable person who had led a very very interesting life! (-:
Rest In Peace Jack! (1946 - 2009)
This DVD was very enjoyable and I purchased it for my collection.
(Also see "Gay Sex In The 70's"...it's another great documentary about
this amazing time in America and in gay/bi history!)
He became the poster boy for gay porn, sort of a "Robert Redford" for the genre, with his blond, masculine good looks. During the 70's, when the industry was finding its identity, Wrangler shot to the top.
What was even more stunning (which stunned everyone) was his 90-degree turnaround into forging a loving relationship with middle-aged singer Margaret Whiting in the 80's (whom he later married). Come what may, it just proves the point that love takes all forms, and nothing is really impossible...including love between a gay porn star & a songbird. It's obvious they really cared for each other.
Also amazing was how he re-invented himself after leaving porn. In an industry in which there is such a strong stigma attached once you perform in adult films, he found a new career as playwright, director & producer of many successful stage plays.
A truly remarkable man, every inch an actor (hence, here was an openly gay man who successfully managed to cross over into straight adult films!), Wrangler was one-of-a-kind. For anyone interested in the early days of the adult industry--and Wrangler himself--this is a must-see!
This film is okay - but feels a little lightweight. It is easy on the drama and tells us a lot of the obvious. Interesting though is to hear him finally explain his marriage to Margaret Whiting and how that has worked all these years. Some of the comments he makes in interviews in the "extras" section are more interstesing than those included in the film.
Overall, enjoyable and great to see a documentary about a very worthy subject.