Gordon Sheppard

Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker

“Superb documentary” – The Varsity (December 7, 1962)

Hefner has surrounded himself with a coterie of sycophants who revere him as their guide and metor. Typical is his PR man, who giggled for the camera, Hef has changed my whole mental attitude… [This] superb documentary has already won the Golden Gate award at the San Francisco Film Festival… Perhaps the last word should go to Hefner who said, on seeing the film, “It’s not very flattering but it’s a work of art.”

– The Varsity [University of Toronto] December 7, 1962

“An extraordinary 30 minute short” – Bosley Crowther, New York Times

On the [same bill at Cinema 1] as Three Fables of Love…is an extraordinary 30 minute short, called The Most — a devastating documentation of Hugh M. Hefner, the editor and publisher of Playboy Magazine. In it Mr. Hefner and some of his associates endeavor to explain him and his enterprises against a shifting background of his office and his Playboy Clubs. It concludes with a candid-camera look at a frenzied party in Mr. Hefner’s home. “I am, ” he frankly tells the camera, “the most successful man I know.” The picture makes one wonder what his notion of success really is.

– Bosley Crowther

New York Times August 21, 1963

“The reaction to The Most has been remarkable” – Stanley Paley, Art Films International

“The reaction to The Most has been remarkable: it has been both lavishly praised and heartily damned. Some have thought — and wrongly — that it amounts to nothing more than a publicity stunt for Playboy. This isn’t so. Although Hefner … co-operated with the producers, he had no control over the film which is not always entirely flattering to him. This may be due to some of the statements he makes, such as: “I guess I’m the most successful man I know.” Or: “Genius is a kind of funny word . . . I suppose by definition I consider myself one, both intellectually and in terms of creativity.” He does, however, have slight reservations about himself at times. To quote Hefner: “Herb Kane of The San Francisco Chronicle, after attending a party at our house one evening, made the observation that I had probably made love to more beautiful women than any other man in history. Now I’m very sure this probably isn’t true.”

At one showing of the film a man in the theatre turned to the projection booth and yelled: “Take this trash off the screen!” Another became even more bellicose and wanted to beat up the manager. On the other hand, Walter Winchell is reported to have stated that this was the best film he had seen in years. Be that as it may, any movie that can stir up this kind of controversy is worth seeing and we strongly recommend that you do so if and when it comes your way. Regardless of how one may feel about Mr. Hefner, he must be admired for his forthrightness. There is nothing hypocritical about him and this is very refreshing in an era of temporizing.”

– Stanley Paley
Art Films International 1963