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Premiering as a part of PBS's American Masters series, "Inventing David Geffen" is an engaging look at one of Hollywood's more polarizing power players. David Geffen has made his share of enemies through the years, but there is no denying his impact and success in the entertainment world. Susan Lacy's documentary takes a look primarily at Geffen's rise and his legacy. It's a candid, mostly positive, portrait in which many of Geffen's contemporaries acknowledge the man's volatile reputation while giving credit for his many accomplishments. "Inventing David Geffen" is certainly a respectful tribute. I wouldn't say it is an all encompassing vision of Geffen, though. Lacy's film rarely mentions struggles, hardships, or genuine unpleasantness. Every move Geffen made in his life seems to have led to a pre-determined success story. But if you love the business, Geffen's story is definitely one for the ages.

Admittedly, I probably knew more about Geffen than many before watching this film. But I was still quite impressed by his longevity, the many hats he's worn, and the way he has been able to navigate through different facets of the entertainment industry. Geffen has been an agent, a talent manager, a record mogul, and a movie producer. He manipulated his way into the business with a brashness and single-mindedness that is almost awe inspiring. And he made a name for himself with his dogged determination and commitment to his acts. He followed his heart and his passions and, in doing so, became a force to be reckoned with. I may not always have agreed with his methods, but I'm sure he doesn't much care what I think as he sits upon his empire's throne! And that's perfectly okay. Geffen represents the perfect storm of artistic integrity and business acumen and naked ambition. It's a combination that has worked for him!

The film itself unfolds in a largely chronological order as it traces Geffen's ascent. It is quite specific about and spends the most amount of personal time in his early stages as an agent and manager. Lacy incorporates plenty of performances and clips along the way from the projects in which Geffen had a hand and this keeps things quite entertaining. There isn't a lot of extraneous personal information, a few sidelines with Cher and the topic of his sexuality notwithstanding. We just follow a kid with a dream up until he's attempting to revolutionize Hollywood with the Dreamworks collaboration. Again, this is an easy recommendation for anyone with an interest in the world of entertainment. Geffen has a singular story, I'm not sure someone could even approximate his career path in this day and age. Fascinating stuff. It doesn't show everything, but I'm happy enough with the result. And there are a ton of famous faces that contribute to the film. KGHarris, 12/12.
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on November 25, 2013
Oh yeah, what an upstanding American success story. Really something to admire. Got his start by forging his academic credentials and lying on his resume. Then lied and manipulated his way further up the proverbial ladder. Felt "devastated and crushed" that his singer-songwriter protege, Laura Nyro screwed him over by going to Columbia Records, only to turn around and do the same thing to his "family" of artists at Asylum Records when he traded his artistic and personal integrity for corporate power and control. (And that's only the beginning.) Right. Just how we want all our children to "make it" in this world. Because we all know that the ends justifies the means...right?

Read that he lives a lavish and self-indulgent lifestyle--complete with yachts and mansions, and has 41-years-his-junior "boy toys." And we are supposed to admire this 69-year-old boy-child who is clearly long on smarts and pathetically short on scruples...and morals? A man who has been dubbed "ruthless" and "self serving." Because what? He puts together big Hollywood deals? Was a mentor to rock stars? "Was born confident." Values the almighty dollar and being a big power player above everything else? Is charming? Really?
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on August 15, 2015
Had to get this. Have watched on PBS numerous times. Fascinating and insightful biography about a prime mover and shaker in the business. The music alone makes this a worthwhile purchase. Eagles, Jackson Brown, Neil Young, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell . . . if that's your sound track this will bring it all back . . . and then there are the movies to numerous to mention. A most gifted man and this does him justice.
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on November 23, 2012
Inventing David Geffen is an exceptionally well-made documentary which will be of interest to a very wide audience given the scope of its subject matter as well as the compelling individual at the center of its narrative focus. Wonderfully engaging and entertaining, the film is balanced in its viewpoint and granular in its highly detailed profile of a life that encompasses a broad swath of the American cultural scene over the last forty years. To my taste, Inventing David Geffen is one of the finest biographical documentaries of the last decade and I highly recommended it.
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on July 30, 2013
A very well done documentary with remarkable candor by the subject. It illustrates a life dedicated to enablement of a dream (his own) through tapping into the dreams of others. This appears to have been a largely constructive exercise for those around him, creating a larger canvas with shrewd business acumen "you will be rich, but I will be richer". Not a bad trade-off or necessarily unjust, but like most american moguls who build the machinery of commerce, regardless if it is oil, railroads or great music and film; personal vision is paramount with its own code of conduct and laws of gravity. Cheers and good viewing.
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on February 13, 2013
If you're interested in a story about someone who simply willed success, this is it. What a story. Iwas spellbound, all 3 times. Plus, Geffen was at the center of the renaissance of music in the '60's, even facilitated it really. So if you're interested in how that amazing era of music came about you'll be fascinated by this film.
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Premiering as a part of PBS's American Masters series, "Inventing David Geffen" is an engaging look at one of Hollywood's more polarizing power players. David Geffen has made his share of enemies through the years, but there is no denying his impact and success in the entertainment world. Susan Lacy's documentary takes a look primarily at Geffen's rise and his legacy. It's a candid, mostly positive, portrait in which many of Geffen's contemporaries acknowledge the man's volatile reputation while giving credit for his many accomplishments. "Inventing David Geffen" is certainly a respectful tribute. I wouldn't say it is an all encompassing vision of Geffen, though. Lacy's film rarely mentions struggles, hardships, or genuine unpleasantness. Every move Geffen made in his life seems to have led to a pre-determined success story. But if you love the business, Geffen's story is definitely one for the ages.

Admittedly, I probably knew more about Geffen than many before watching this film. But I was still quite impressed by his longevity, the many hats he's worn, and the way he has been able to navigate through different facets of the entertainment industry. Geffen has been an agent, a talent manager, a record mogul, and a movie producer. He manipulated his way into the business with a brashness and single-mindedness that is almost awe inspiring. And he made a name for himself with his dogged determination and commitment to his acts. He followed his heart and his passions and, in doing so, became a force to be reckoned with. I may not always have agreed with his methods, but I'm sure he doesn't much care what I think as he sits upon his empire's throne! And that's perfectly okay. Geffen represents the perfect storm of artistic integrity and business acumen and naked ambition. It's a combination that has worked for him!

The film itself unfolds in a largely chronological order as it traces Geffen's ascent. It is quite specific about and spends the most amount of personal time in his early stages as an agent and manager. Lacy incorporates plenty of performances and clips along the way from the projects in which Geffen had a hand and this keeps things quite entertaining. There isn't a lot of extraneous personal information, a few sidelines with Cher and the topic of his sexuality notwithstanding. We just follow a kid with a dream up until he's attempting to revolutionize Hollywood with the Dreamworks collaboration. Again, this is an easy recommendation for anyone with an interest in the world of entertainment. Geffen has a singular story, I'm not sure someone could even approximate his career path in this day and age. Fascinating stuff. It doesn't show everything, but I'm happy enough with the result. And there are a ton of famous faces that contribute to the film. KGHarris, 12/12.
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on March 10, 2015
Informative, Exciting, a Visionary ! I never write reviews this one was a no brainier. I have watched this documentary several times....it's always Fascinating. At parties there's always some one who would ask "who would you like to meet before you die ?" ........David Geffen !
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"Inventing David Geffen" (2012 release; 115 min.) is a PBS documentary in the on-going "American Masters" series, in which we get a look at the life and times of David Geffen.

The documentary's fisrt hour is nothing short of thrilling, as we see young Geffen, born and raised in Brooklyn, with one goal in mind: go out to California and become part of the Hollywood scene. As Geffen comments (in the many face-to-face interviews with him in this): "I left for California the day I graduated from high school". After some detours, Geffen starts his career at the William Morris talent agency and takes a strong (some might say, obsessed) interest in Laura Nyro, a talented singer-wongwriter. Geffen eventually founded Asylum Records, where he nurtures bands like the Eagles. Comments Glenn Frey: "he said to me, I'm gonna make you rich, but I'll be richer", ha! Geffen's drive and ambition knows no or little boundaries, and he dabbles in Hollywood again, only to come back and found Geffen Records, which he eventually sells for meagabucks, leading into his co-founding of the Dreamworks movie studio.

The documentary also looks at his personal life, being a gay man yet getting into an 18 month relationship with Cher in the 70s (before she dumps him for Greg Allman), and his later 'officially' coming out and then being a strong supporter of gay rights. Leaving the personal life aside, this movie is fascinating to watch for Geffen's work both in the music and the movie industries. I enjoyed this documentary from start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on January 12, 2013
I happened to catch Inventing David Geffen on my local PBS station and I couldn't stop laughing at the gall of this Jew from a poor Brooklyn family. The program was interesting with great graphics and lots of good music. I decided that I had to get the blu-ray.
I learned early on that Geffen was gay. When he fell in love with Cher I almost fell out of my chair. Next I saw how he helped his clients as an agent. We meet his friends (would you believe Steven Spielberg?) and learn a lot more about him. He makes some good deals that make him a lot of money. He goes from making records to making movies. He becomes a major player in Hollywood.
I am still laughing. This is one of the best blu-rays I have. I think I will enjoy Inventing David Geffen for a long time to come.
Try it, you'll like it.
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