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Genius Within: Inner Life of Glenn Gould

34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Glenn Gould, Petula Clark
  • Directors: Peter Raymont Michèle Hozer
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Studio: Lorber Films
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0041KKYK6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,489 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Genius Within: Inner Life of Glenn Gould" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By K. Swanson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2011
Format: DVD
4.2 stars

I very much enjoyed this film, as most Gould fans will, but was somehow left with more questions than I had going in. Maybe that's okay and even for the best, but areas I'd like to have seen explored more in depth---certain relationships, his addiction, his philosophies---were given less space than certain other relationships etc, things I found much less germane to my love of the man's music.

It would have been nice to see more of the early Glenn and less of the latter, as his semi-tragic "downfall" rarely stirs the musical soul like his early triumphs (but the '81 GV are sublime), and the focus on the incidentals (the scarves and hat and overcoat, blah blah) detracts from the glory of the music at points.

There are nonetheless many fine nuggets of Gouldiana here for any fan or even casual listener. Some of the clips of him playing, as in the Eaton's studio, have moments of sheer beauty, and those alone are worth seeing this for. Likewise the love of some of his friends, though their sadness and confusion with him almost seems pointless when we could be hearing more of what really mattered: the music!

All too human being: check.
Totally unique pianist: double check.
Which matters more? I'd say the latter times a thousand, and that's the inner life I'd like to know more of via more music and interviews with Glenn, and less from those who knew him. Because after all, how many of us know anybody else's real inner life? It's all conjecture. Clearly some of these people did not really "get" Glenn, so their theories left me high and dry more than once.

But I loved seeing and hearing Gould himself, and the joy he took in playing. That's where the juice is, and for the moments this film shows Gould in his element we see that after all it was the music that mattered most to him. And us.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By hunter_lite on March 13, 2011
Format: DVD
Gould's trajectory from hot young superstar to serious oddity-genius has elements of tragedy, and I suspect is instructive in a way that eludes me. Genius Within is excellent in telling Gould's story.

Knowing the biography, there were still many discoveries in the film for me. I would have liked more clinical review, even if speculative. What were the specific meds that he was unwisely mixing? Ever a behavioral diagnosis? The documentary only glances at Gould's aversion to touch, which was major (e.g., there was extended litigation with an admirer who clapped Gould on the back.)

Unlikely that any Gould enthusiast will be disappointed with this documentary. Gould's psychological dynamic probably relates to being the only child of older parents. His deep genius, I suspect, will continue as mystery.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 17, 2010
Format: DVD
Pianist Glenn Gould's name is common among the older generation of classical music lovers but is rarely mentioned today, though his recordings of the Goldberg Variations stands out as the best performance examples of this work. A child prodigy in his native Canada, he made his debut at age 15 and when the executives at Columbia Records saw his Carnegie Hall debut - at age 23 - in 1955, they signed him immediately to a recording contract. At age 37 he gave his final concert and moved on to producing audio documentaries for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company). He experimented with "new music" and even dabbled in "pop" by producing a documentary on British pop singer Petula Clark!

This in depth film - running nearly two hours - includes lots of archival film as well as interviews with nearly every person relevant to Gould's life. All of these are connected by audio and video interviews done with Gould during his lifetime.

I only knew of the artist through the award-winning film "21 short films about Glenn Gould", but he was still an enigma to me. After watching this film, I now know as much as we can hope to know about this introverted, eccentric but immensely talented musical artist.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cookin' Dad on November 22, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you're already looking at this page you don't need me to tell you about Glenn Gould. This was a beautifully-filmed, well-done documentary that will, hopefully, introduce Gould's genius (and eccentricities) to a new generation of fans. And, of course, the soundtrack speaks for itself. :) If you missed its limited theatrical release, buy the DVD; you won't be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter W.Pardee on December 12, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A close friend recommended this documentary to me, and though I've greatly enjoyed Gould's recordings, particularly the works of J. S. Bach, it completely changed my views of this remarkable man.
Previously, I thought Gould's life exemplified a pattern to be avoided, a mentally unstable man who became a hypochodriac, co-dependent, overwhelmed by his own intellect and quandaries, a recluse, antisocial, who died at far too young an age needlessly. Gould seemed the antithesis of the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein, a well adjusted man who enjoyed a long life,
established a stunning, fruitful career in music, and who was a great father and husband, and found how to reach his audiences both on the concert stage and left us a legacy of fabulous recordings.
"Genius Within" provides a judicious, dispassionate look at Gould's redeeming qualities, and they were legion. A fascinating man, the first to recognize that recordings were essential and could best represent playing music as it should be played, that all musicians play differently. I would have liked to know him, and learned his eccentricities, hypochondria and mental instabilities only manifested in the last few years of his life, and were more a media creation than representative of Glenn Gould, who loved so many aspects of life. This documentary portrays views from his friends and peers, and, sharply contrasting to other DVD's I own, "32 Short Films..." and "The Alchemist", both somewhat disturbing and/or tedious, is a product I highly recommend to anyone wanting to know of Gould and more about the value of music.
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