Documentary maker Brigitte Berman wants us to remember Playboy
magazine founder Hugh Hefner as something more than a skinny guy in pajamas buried beneath a pile of Playmates. And so her entertaining history lesson takes us back to the days when contraceptives were illegal and consensual oral sex was a felony – to show us how Hefner used the power of what became the Playboy empire to promote liberal causes, racial tolerance, and especially anti-Puritanism. Hefner as a civil rights crusader? That’s how Tony Bennett, Jim Brown, Joan Baez, Bill Maher, James Caan, Dick Cavett, Pete Seeger, Dick Gregory, and a host of other admiring witnesses see him. We also hear from the 84-year-old Hefner himself – this is the first doc profile to gain full access (124 min.).