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J.C. Leyendecker - The Great American Illustrator (2002)

Ossie Davis , Amy Stone  |  NR |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ossie Davis
  • Directors: Amy Stone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 45 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006RCMS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,216 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

J.C. Leyendecker was the most successful illustrator of his time, creating over 500 paintings for magazine covers - including 322 for the Saturday Evening Post - and advertisements that made his clients famous. His paintings portrayed a lifestyle that resonated with millions of Americans. Even when depicting those issues that mattered most - a woman's right to vote, the economic woes of the Depression, victory over Nazi Germany - he never employed a heavy hand or a dark mood; his images were always full of human warmth and imagination. Leyendecker told the story of consumerism as if it were lyric poetry; replacing the turbulence of cultural history with a beauteous glance, a beguiling child, a muscular vision, or a gentle hand.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars J.C. Leyendecker deserved better! April 21, 2005
It is so tragic that there has only been one film ever produced exclusively about Joseph Christian Leyendecker, a giant of 20th century illustration. What's even more tragic is that this one film is simply awful!! Starting with the opening credits, the entire film has the sensibility of a high school school film project. The edits are crude and unpolished, the background music is not even from Leyendecker's era, the voiceover is shockingly miscast with the voice of Ossie Davis (no disrespect to Mr. Davis, but it's like using the voice of Hugh Grant for a film about the cuisine of the deep South), and the interviews are truncated and disjointed. Misleading photographs appeared during interviews. The director tried to film one interview like Ken Burns, except the camera kept going in and out of focus. Annoying off-camera sounds were left in like doors slamming and objects hitting the ground. This film is not a labor of love as it deserved to be. It feels as if it was given to a director and production company who took on the project to make some quick money. Shame on everyone involved in producing this piece of garbage! It does an immense injustice to all the people interviewed in this film who are true admirers of Leyendecker. I was truly looking forward to this homage on film. Don't waste your time and money, like I did!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
J.C. Leyendecker's work remains an enduring staple of American illustration, instantly recognizable for his SATURDAY EVENING POST covers as well as his well-tailored gentlemen in fashion magazines. Yet little is known about the man himself, a reclusive and private figure whose name became overshadowed by his onetime apprentice, Norman Rockwell. This documentary earns a special place, if only for focussing on a subject rarely discussed outside major art circles. Alas, "J.C. Leyendecker - The Great American Illustrator" is neither a particularly insightful or well-made program, and one can't help but wish that someone hadn't done the artist justice. Awkwardly edited, jarringly photographed, with only a bare bones description of Levendecker's private life (the film merely glosses over the artist's checkered relationship with his brother -- a successful artist in his own right, but plagued with personal demons, as well as Leyendecker's homosexuality and his friendship/rivalry with Norman Rockwell), the documentary loses focus, giving little insight into either the man or his art. While images of his paintings are voluminous, they flash by so quickly that we're never given the opportunity to explore their meaning, or Leyendecker's marvelous artistic technique. The narration by Ossie Davis, while he is a tremendous talent, feels inappropriate to the material. Worse still is the selection of jazz music that must be two decades out of place from the source.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An artist in his time November 3, 2008
I really don't understand the very negative tone of many of the customer reviews here. This film struck me as a very well done piece that appreciates the talent of this underrated artist, and perhaps equally importantly sets him in the context of his time. There are many splendid close-ups of the works, and the various people interviewed on screen are articulate and well qualified to comment.

Leyendecker's virtuosity and humor are well illustrated, and the issues generated by his necessarily concealed homosexuality covered in detail. The technical commentary is enlightening, and the inevitable comparisons to Norman Rockwell are intelligently investigated; quite a bit of professional jealousy there, it seems.

After viewing, I feel I understand a great deal more about the man and his art. I'm glad to see him receiving some of the credit he deserves.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry J.C, you deserve so much more.... February 3, 2007
(I would have given this film a ZERO but 1 star is the lowest I was allowed to choose.)

We all waited so long for a really wonderful , beautiful film about this great artist ,but what we got was an insult. This"film" is the most dreadfull piece of rubbish imaginable. All involved should be ashamed of themselves.

It starts with an extremely annoying jumble of flash images of Leyendeckers work, put to an obnoxious(and inappropriate) jazz track that is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. Then Ossie Davis (a good man, but he couldnt have been a worse choice for this project) does his best to narrate this incredibly inept and superficial look at an important 20th century artist. The interviews are worthless, with no one offering any real insight into this mans complex life, not to mention his contributions to pop culture.

I guess the reason im so upset is that this artist deserves so much more than this truly pathetic attempt ,that fails so miserably on all levels.

Hopefully a real filmaker will take on this neglected artist and put the same love and respect into a film bio , that Leyendecker himself put into his art. He truly deserves it. Thanks for listening.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! December 26, 2004
By Manet
Great to even find a DVD about Leyendecker.

Consists of interviews by connoisseurs and leyendecker lovers.

Little is known about the person behind the art

but the art is what makes me like the artist

and his art is what's being discusses and depicted

in a good quality recording.

Exactly what I wanted to have.
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