EXCLUSIVE: A legend. A gay couple. A musical disaster. Jeffrey Schwarz pulls focus on ’Boulevard!’
August 17, 2021
Leave it to Jeffrey Schwarz to uncover one of the strangest, forgotten episodes in Hollywood history.
As a documentarian, Schwarz has made a career out of combing the attics of Tinseltown to find the lost--often queer--stories from showbiz history. His films 'I Am Divine,' 'Tab Hunter Confidential,' 'Vito' and 'The Fabulous Alan Carr' all told stories of LGBTQ people in the movies, often highlighting how they had to hide their sexuality, or fight back against currents of homophobia in society. Schwarz's latest film, 'Boulevard!,' has its world premiere at Outfest August 17.
'Boulevard!' recounts the tale of a musical version of the cinema classic 'Sunset Blvd.,' albeit one conceived some 30 years before Andrew Lloyd Webber would debut his own on Broadway. This earlier version, commissioned by Gloria Swanson who starred in the original film, would have served as her great stage comeback. To write the show, Swanson enlisted movie star/lyricist Richard Stapley and lounge pianist Dickson Hughes, pair of young showbiz talents...and a secret gay couple. For a year, the three plotted Swanson's adaptation of 'Sunset Blvd.' before a bizarre love triangle torpedoed the entire project.
Using rare archival footage and recordings, as well as new interviews with Hollywood historians Mark Saltzman, David Del Valle and Robert Osborne, 'Boulevard!' tells the story of the ill-fated musical, a tale so strange it could have occurred in 'Sunset Blvd.'
Only in Hollywood, folks. We caught up with Schwarz for an exclusive clip from the film, as well as a chat about its origins, the bonkers tale of the musical, and the gay love story at the center of it all. 'Boulevard!' premieres at Outfest August 17.
Video Editor: David Beerman.