Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Canada, 2006. Amérimage-Spectra, Canal D, Chum Television. Screenplay by Ross Higgins, Philip Lewis, Jean-François Monette. Cinematography by Étienne Boilard, Peter S. Kreiger, Michael Wees. Produced by Lisa Cochrane, Alain Simard, Pierre Touchette. Music by Jeff Johnston. Film Editing by Barbara Brown.
Short but potent documentary on the physique photographer who is now remembered as one of the key names in the history of male pin-ups. Alan Bentley Stone was a quiet Montreal suburbanite whose sexy photographs of bodybuilders fed a closeted subculture of gay men who thrilled to the sight of these beautiful beefcakes in their glorious form. Setting up shop in his basement, Stone photographed some of the most successful competitors of his day, turning guys like Mike Mangione and Billy Hill into superstars. The photographs are incredibly tame compared to what can be found on the net today, usually presented under the guise of promoting exercise routines or health regimens, but the gaze from behind the camera is definitely one of red-blooded healthy desire and the models are only too happy to present themselves as fodder for fantasy. In the mere 49 minutes that this wonderful film runs, we get interviews with many of his former models, who reminisce very fondly on the lovely man who surprised them with his capacity for appreciating beauty despite a very low-key demeanor, plus it takes a look at the wider range of his work including the pictures he took of his beloved Montreal. Something of a Canadian counterpart to Bob Mizer, this film doesn’t have the fictional element of Thom Fitzgerald’s Beefcake but is informative enough not to need it.