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Shepard & Dark (2012)

Sam Shepard , Johnny Dark , Treva Wurmfeld  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Shepard & Dark + Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark (Southwestern Writers Collection Series, Wittliff Collections at Texas State University) + Heartless: A Play
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Shepard, Johnny Dark
  • Directors: Treva Wurmfeld
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,152 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (The Right Stuff), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Following playwright-actor Sam Shepard as he and long-time bud Johnny Dark prepare a book of letters for a pile of money,
this documentary gets at the heart of one of America's greatest artistic figures without any kind of filter. Following their long
friendship from 1963 onwards--including a heartbreaking period of personal loss and domestic meltdowns--the story revolves
back to Shepard's basic obtuseness. Nothing explains his behavior, walking out on his family, and then (spoiler alert) walking out
on his friend and their project (which was eventually finished). Any insight into one of the great playwrights of our time, however,
is worth a look. I found Shepard And Dark to be an extraordinary trip into the eclipse of masculinity, which is, of course, one of
Shepard's greatest concerns. And while I was looking for any evidence of Sam Shepard's residence in Nova Scotia from 1969 to
1984--there's not a mention in the documentary--I found the film to be deeply engrossing anyways.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Voyeur's Dream February 3, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I lived near Shepard and Dark during a period given much attention in this revelatory documentary. Johnny Dark comes off as a true spiritual seeker (he and Shepard were both involved deeply in the Gurdjieff Work for much of the time span of this film), very humble and observant of life's little redeeming moments. Their interaction during the period in which they're combing through old letters reveals Shepard as kind of a curmudgeon and a bully, apparently resentful of Johnny's participation. Those familiar with Shepard's oft-plumbed relationship with his violent alcoholic father will see how deeply embedded he is in Shepard's psyche. There are also moments of supreme sweetness here. I re-watched the film, which actually employs a frustrating yet commendable discretion regarding Shepard's relationship and break-up with actress Jessica Lange, immediately upon finishing it the first time. Anyone interested in American arts and letters, family relationships, and the 1960s' legacy will enjoy this documentary, and will profit even more if they read the recently-published book of Shepard-Dark letters. There's a nice teaser at the end: Shepard is plumbing Greek tragedies for an upcoming play called "A Particle of Dread," and Johnny says that Shepard's preoccupation with the Greek notion of fate might be a way of Shepard letting himself off the hook for many of his choices and misbehavior with those around him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it! August 21, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It will surprise you, make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think about your own relationships. I loved it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful... January 28, 2014
By cat
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
...and sad. Lovely, poignant and moving. But it left me wanting more. It ended on an uncertain, empty note. Maybe a sequel?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop thinking about it June 3, 2014
In the first place, I couldn't believe the enigmatic Shepard even considered such a project, much less followed through with it - up to a point.

The majority of the story is delightful - two old friends reflecting on their quirky history together. How could anyone not envy the tie that bound them together for decades... in spite of everything.

But then...was it only in his look back that Dark realized he'd so often been treated by Shepard as being less than equal?

And who wouldn't ache for Shepard? Did he really reach 70 before he admitted to himself that - his writing to the contrary - he has more often than not been his father's son ?

Fascinating, informative, yet disturbing and sad.

A movie that definitely deserves a second look
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