Posts Tagged “Documentary”

2007

June 17, 2008
Netflix DVD
USA
English / Arabic
85 Minutes
Documentary
Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg

A Witness To Evil. A Force For Peace. An Unbelievable True Story.

7.8 Metacritic
7.7 IMDB

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2007

Netflix Streaming
USA
English
86 Minutes
Documentary
David Stenn [Hill Street Blues]

Compelling untold story about a chorus girl who was sent to what she thought was a casting call with hundreds of other girls and ends up being raped by an MGM executive in town for the hedonistic convention in 1937. The studio owned the property, the doctor who examined her, the newspapers, and even the one eyewitness who was parking cars that day. She was 16 years old and a virgin. She never recovered. We see her now very old having lost none of her anger towards what happened to her.

Unfortunately, this great 45-minute story is padded with some of the worst documentary filmmaking I’ve ever seen. The filmmaker films himself waiting for a meeting with the woman in question, Patricia Douglas, in a hotel room in Las Vegas. He films her daughter and incredibly gay grandson. He films himself going to the grave of the MGM executive. He interviews a Fox News legal analyst and a Hollywood District attorney about what went wrong with the prosecution.

It could have been a shorter PBS-level film. It shouldn’t have been stretched out to nearly 90 minutes. It was unsuccessful in its attempt to explain the morals of the 1930s in Hollywood.

6.3 IMDB

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2002

February 16, 2003

Camera Cinema Club

USA

English

92 minutes

Documentary about the Weathermen, a group of radical early 70s young people who claimed responsibility for a host of bombings around the US to protest the Vietnam War specifically and the capitalist form of government in general. Although I’m too young to remember the actual events, I knew about their existence, but not the extent of their bombing targets. This film has archival footage and recent interviews with the subjects. A fascinating look at how a youthful movement can take people in directions they didn’t plan on. The filmmaker was a guy named Sam Green who was probably the best guest the Camera Cinema Club has ever had. Young and thoughtful and even-tempered, he makes me optimistic about the future of the genre.

There was a bit too much harsh war footage, but I suppose that was to get us in the right frame of mind to see why these people went to such extremes to try and halt the war. A lot of blood. They also captured pretty well the free love society that The Weathermen wanted to live. It was very well done and can be seen this year at the upcoming Cinequest 2003. I highly recommend it.

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Written by Michael W. Cummins