Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
Before seeing this film, I only thought of Hugh Hefner as a purveyor of smut who built an empire on the backs, or should I say breasts, of females by reducing them to sex objects whose sole purpose was to fuel the testosterone-fueled fantasies of teenage boys. While this reverential bio-pic did nothing to disabuse me of the notion that the hedonistic octogenarian remains an inveterate, exploitative male chauvinist, it did a great job of convincing me that he also happened to be an effective advocate of racial equality during the Civil Rights Era.
Thus, much in the way that the recent documentary about frozen-fazed, comedienne Joan Rivers managed to humanize a freak long since dismissed as a cosmetic surgery victim, here we have a notorious womanizer successfully recast as an altruistic humanitarian. Directed by Oscar-winner Brigitte Berman, the final cut of Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel was reportedly much longer before the German-born Oscar-winning filmmaker (for Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got), was forced to let five probably priceless hours of celluloid hit the cutting floor.