Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon

6.81 h 24 min200818+
From the dawn of the sexual revolution comes the outrageous and true story of 1970s gay porn icon Jack Wrangler. Jack rose to become a major brand name in adult entertainment, as well as a hero to the newly liberated gay population, only to cross over to straight movies and fall in love with famous vocalist Margaret Whiting.
Jeffrey Schwarz
Jack WranglerMargaret WhitingMarc Shaiman
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Bruce VilanchChristine EbersoleMichael MustoChi Chi La RueSharon MitchellJamie GillisCandida RoyalleSamantha FoxGloria Leonard
Jeffrey Schwarz
Automat Pictures
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsmokingsubstance use
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4.2 out of 5 stars

61 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 7% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Khristine JacksonReviewed in the United States on April 6, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
From .... Witch ... way .. comes ... which ??
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I am familiar with the late XXX actor Jack Wrangler ... I never saw any of his movies.. from the 1970's that was shot on film. He was very ambitious for his generation of "Porno-actor's" .. His good look's certainly help him along the way from legitimate work and adult film's. Then his return to the legitimate stage... with his former wife. He died in April 2009 from emphysema .. and Margaret died in 2011. His life and career choice's was one that many made fun of... who care's ? He seemed to have a good head on his shoulder's and a heart of gold. I know that many people want to know why would an "Openly Gay" male wed a woman much older than he..? Why he chose to deny himself a relationship with a homo-sexual partner ..? As long as he was happy .. who really care's ..?? As human's we will explore,engage and choose to do what ever we so desire . In the end he lived .. and he had the love of a woman that truly respected him. Free country ... ! It was nice to see the Vintage clip's from his movie's .. and learn about his family accepting him. Most families of that era.. would have turned their back's on their "homo-sexual" son's from the 1940's-1980's. We saw what happened during the 1980's-1990's during the "A.I.D.S" epidemic and how fortunate he was to have escaped that bullet.. Great documentary ...
One person found this helpful
HopefulConsumerReviewed in the United States on March 29, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
a ripping yarn
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Hollywood film producer's kid marries Hollywood songwriter's kid -- he at 48, she at 70 -- the 22-year age difference not remarkable in their milieu. She, an iconic singer of the classic "American songbook"; he, well, the film is mostly him telling his story, beginning to end, with feeling, and film clips: discouraged from entering show biz, he grows up the quintessential 1960s hedonist, supporting himself via various not-unpleasant means suiting his nascent itch to perform, including gay porn and straight porn -- just as porn begins to enjoy professional production values and mass acceptance. This leads to fame and personal appearance tours wherein was crafted the lively monologue apparently forming much of the basis for this film. Then some legit acting roles. Then a career directing aging movie stars in dinner theater, then writing and directing his wife's club act, and acts of other performers. All in all, a breezy fairy-tale description of a life and an era . . .
BenAdams75Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
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I hadn't heard of him, but find this type of documentary (about gay men and women before it was more accepted like it is in the 21st Century) intriguing. USUALLY, that is the case, but this one was a snooze fest. I found myself constantly checking to see how much time is remaining and then realized "I'm not interested in this."

He didn't know how to tell his story very well. His smoker's cackle became annoying and the other people interviewed didn't add much to the film.
HE WHO FUNKS BEHIND THE ROWS!!Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wrangler Was An Interesting Person In More Than Just The Obvious Ways!
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Hmmmm, how do I write a review about a great documentary covering
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!)
8 people found this helpful
Alex HReviewed in the United States on July 11, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
*WRANGLER*-- Beyond Just A Pretty Face, Hard Body & Hot Sex!
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I have never seen a Jack Wrangler blue movie, ever. I was way too young when he was in his heyday, but I did come across one of his sex mags when I was a teenager. Nevertheless, I certainly knew who he was. In the gay community, he was legendary. He sort of broke the mold of the gay clone of the 70s, who all had mustaches and wore leather. Jack Wrangler was blond, clean-shaven, and golden.

WRANGLER: ANATOMY OF AN ICON DVD was one of Amazon's recommendations and so I decided to check it out. It was eye opening.

First off, Wrangler is really down to earth and didn't seem to take himself too seriously. He was born Jack Stillman in Beverly Hills, CA, and had an upbringing most of us would die for. He wasn't thrown out or disowned by his wealthy parents nor did the bad porn directors exploit him; he got into the adult entertainment business because he wanted to. He enjoyed it, liked showing his face, and branded his name--"Jack Wrangler"--to everything from poppers to sex toys, and he eventually crossed over to straight porn (funny that nowadays it's the straight adult male star who goes gay for more money). Wrangler, though gay, ends up falling in love with singer Margaret Whiting and they ended up getting married.

He would go on to become a mainstream director and producer for stage plays and musicals. This doc was done in 2008 and features interviews with Wrangler at that time [Wrangler passed away on April 07, 2009, from lung disease at the age of 62 (LA Times)]. He's funny, warm, and very different from what I expected.

The documentary tells Wrangler's story through photos, clips from interviews on talk shows, and some from his adult movies. There is some frontal nudity but there aren't any hardcore porn scenes, so don't worry.

Interviews with wife and singer Margaret Whiting, Wrangler's peers other adult actors/actresses and adult film makers, and gay personalities etc., are also peppered throughout the movie, as well as some great old footage of Hollywood in the 70s, including shots of old gay porn theaters in NYC and SF.

For special features there's almost 35-minutes of out-take interviews with Wrangler and audio commentary by director Jeffrey Schwarz, editor Jaime Meyers Schlenck, and composer Michael Cudahy.

The film was entertaining and interesting. In the film, Wrangler recalls his father's dying wish as wanting him to do something on a grand scale, now that he was on the straight and narrow.

I think for a generation of gay men, Jack Wrangler already did something big (no pun intended). He was comfortable being a gay man and made no apology for it. He wasn't embarrassed or ashamed of his sexuality--or the sex itself---being top and/or bottom in his movies, thereby allowing other gay men not to be ashamed of themselves either. Perhaps that's why he was so legendary. Of course, looking like everybody's all American didn't hurt either.

Anyway, if you enjoy documentaries and like gay themed movies, especially about gay history, get WRANGLER: ANATOMY OF AN ICON. I have some catching up to do on my classic gay porn viewing, LOL.;-)
3 people found this helpful
A. Film LoverReviewed in the United States on July 13, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Wrangling the Wrangler
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This is a nice little documentary about Jack Wrangler, a fascinating man who I once had the pleasure of meeting, along with his other half, Margaret Whiting. It's all very straightforward as documentaries go, which I appreciated. For those who are faint of heart, nudity wise, you do see all of Mr. Wrangler.
Randy E. HalfordReviewed in the United States on May 19, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wrangler's life & career took unexpected twists & turns
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"I never wanted to be an intellectual; I just wanted to be lusted after". And so, Jack Wrangler's statement set the tone for this entertaining & fascinating documentary on his life & career, which was colorful & unusual, to say the least.
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!
2 people found this helpful
DonMacReviewed in the United States on January 8, 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars
You can't get more gay pop culture icon than this ...
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Wrangler has a legacy that will put him in the gay history books forever, which is what I think he really wanted. Madonna may have learned a thing or two from his marketing startegy. Regardless, he was a very likable, sex icon for the 70's early 80's the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time. Really a product of the times, he had an impact that still ripples throughout the community.

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.
10 people found this helpful
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