filmmaker-author Kenneth Anger (“Hollywood Babylon,” Scorpio Rising) has passed at age 96. He actually slipped the coil two weeks ago (5.11.23), but the announcement didn’t break until a day or two ago.
I first read “Hollywood Babylon” in ’77 or ’78. A flagrantly sordid, occasionally grotesque catalogue of the most sensational Hollywood scandals from the classic era (’20s through ’50s). I suspected right away that it was exaggerated, but like everyone else I found the book darkly fascinating all the same. (A Connecticut friend told me he found it gloomy and depressing — in other words he didn’t get it.) Alas, reputable journalists and Hollywood historians (including Karina Longworth) have claimed that much of it was flat-out fabricated.
The book might be bullshit, I told myself, but I didn’t want it to be, and, as we all found out last year, neither did Damien Chazelle.
Not to mention the fact that “all gossip is true.” (Who said that?) This is Hollywood, sir — when truth becomes legend, print the legend.
To this day I’ve never seen Scorpio Rising (’63), but we’re all familiar with the gay erotic legend of musclebound motorcycle guys in dark shades and black leather jackets…The Wild One, The Village People, Cruising…this is what Anger created or articulated with Scorpio Rising“>this fringey film.