Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Blu-ray)

Though it’s likely that few people in Middle America recognize the name Shep Gordon, in Hollywood, few people have more friends than him. A longtime talent manager, he has handled some of the biggest names in show business, everyone from Alice Cooper to Teddy Pendergrass, produced such films as Choose Me and The Whales of August and developed the concept of the “celebrity chef” to the financial benefit of Emeril Lagasse and other culinary artists. Director Mike Meyers (The Austin Powers series) makes no secret of the fact that Supermensch is an exercise in fawning. He says, “Shep is the nicest person I’ve ever met, hands down,” something he can attest to personally, because Shep offered his house in Hawaii to him for two months during a particularly difficult time in his life. In what is usually a cutthroat business, Shep might just prove that nice guys do finish first.

Despite the praise of his famous friends, Gordon appears to have remained a laid back guy, seeing himself as no one particularly special. Even as he talks about the stars he’s represented and the numerous gorgeous women he’s bedded (Sharon Stone being the most prominent), Gordon seems genuinely humble. It was Stone apparently, who introduced him to Buddhism, the tenets of which, he says, have governed the way he lives his life—particularly in regards to karma. Even at the height of his power, Gordon always prided himself on “treating celebrities like human beings,” which likely explains why so many of them are among his closest friends.

Supermensch provides a look at Gordon’s occasionally bizarre antics that brought his clients fame. In one of the more notorious incidents—Alice Cooper’s chicken killing in 1969 at a Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert was conceived by Gordon; he through the chicken onstage and loved the entire spectacle. While I don’t doubt that Gordon is a nice guy, his ability to craft an image for his clients, does make one wonder if some of his own humble personality is at least in part a carefully crafted public persona. It’s strange that Gordon, a man who claims to have no interest in fame, has agreed to participate in a laudatory documentary about himself.

Nonetheless, Shep Gordon is a wonderful storyteller and his tales of life in Hollywood are fun. While the documentary doesn’t offer any real insight into Shep Gordon’s life, he shares some great stories about Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Groucho Marx (who he managed pro-bono just to get him out of a financial hole) and others. Heck, when a guy like Michael Douglas is speaking in marveled terms about your skills as a womanizer, you likely have a few good stories to tell. He once shared joint custody of a cat with Cary Grant. He used to talk Groucho Marx to sleep. Even though he’s bedded many beautiful women, nearing 70, he dreams of having a child.

Supermensch, which blends new interviews, archival footage and comedic re-enactments has a uneven narrative but manages to be entertaining. Anyone with an interest in the inner workings of Hollywood, the entertainment industry or gossip will likely find something to enjoy here.

Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Anchor Bay’s 1080p transfer is a solid one. The film is a mix of new interviews and archival footage. As you might expect, the archive footage looks somewhat grainy and shows the occasional scratch, but the new interviews are clear as a bell and offer up strong color saturation.

The 5.1 DTSHD-MA audio track does a fine job with the material, providing clear and concise dialogue throughout and adding a nice level of bass to the occasional music cue.

English and Spanish subtitles are included.

There are no extras available.

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