Bert Stern: Original Mad Man
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Bert Stern: Original Mad Man is the definitive voyage into the life and work of one of America's most influential photographers. An original Madison Avenue "mad man," Stern's images helped create modern advertising.
Photographing the world's most alluring women in fashion and Hollywood for the past 50 years -- Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss and Scarlett Johansson among them -- minted Stern as a celebrity in his own right.
Here, Stern reveals his wild, untold life story to his long-time muse, filmmaker Shannah Laumeister. It seemed Stern could do no wrong, until a dramatic fall from grace. A story of self-creation; rise, fall and reinvention; exploring creativity, celebrity, and desire through the eyes of a man who got everything he wanted. Almost.
Eye-opening, intriguing and timely. A highly intimate, fascinating portrait. --Frank Schleck, The Hollywood Reporter
Candid, and at times almost painful in its level of exposure. Stern says: 'I'm a prisoner of all the things I've done.' Oh, but what a whole lot of things he's done. --Antonina Jedrzejczak, Vogue Magazine
Top Customer Reviews
The story line bounces about, documenting Stern's classic American success story life. Born poor and not educated, Stern became an established and very successful photographer by his mid-twenties.
His early job working for `Look' magazine got him his chance where he became friends with Stanley Kubrick. Reluctantly interviewed, Stern discusses his life. Most of it is about his womanizing and his drug abuse. When he discusses his work, its magic - as if it was a different person. His first successful series of shots was for Smirnoff and even by today's standards; his commercial photography was new, fresh and inventive. His work with Kubrick included promotional shots for the infamous film, "Lolita". His most famous work is the series of stills called, "The Last Sitting"; a truly free and open session with Marilyn Monroe just weeks before her death. The images are mesmerizing and his genius is palpable.
Director Laumeister was one of Stern's photographic subjects, girlfriend and eventual wife. Somehow, this fact seems to cloud the films direction and the viewer is exposed to as many womanizing and drug stories as the world famous photography stories. It's a little uneven and as a documentary director, Laumeister inserts herself into the film occasionally without adding anything to the story. This is about Bert Stern.
The story is good enough that Stern's life comes across as bizarrely unique and amazingly successful. It will make you want to learn more about his work, as the film leaves too many stories incomplete. Film supplied by First Run Features for review.
But we are here to discuss the film and the DVD, aren't we? I found it fascinating (as well as great DVD to test out my new flat screen HD TV). The film is on DVD (not Blu ray). A few of the other reviews I read said that they thought the film was lacking in depth and they wanted more info on Stern. I took a different approach (which may be why my rating is higher). Rather than a biography of the artist (and Stern was a creative artist as well as a photographic one), I saw this as a "portrait". The narration is by Stern and Director Laumeister does arrange the story chronologically. She is primarily an actress, though I have not seen any of the plays (mostly off-Broadway) or films she has appeared in and, as you will learn during the film, she became his model when she was 18 years old. They had an ongoing relationship - though they never married. Stern did get married at least twice and Laumeister interviews those women - one of who was not happy with Stern and tells us on camera.Read more ›
camera, giving us his life story first hand. A must see for anyone interested in the art/photography creative process, from the master's mind, aand how your life can get totally dominated and suffered, when creating great artworks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just watched this fascinating portrait of the legendary Bert Stern and loved it.
Shannah L wisely directed the film by letting Bert Stern be Bert Stern and let him narrate in... Read more
I enjoyed this documentary:)) It was well directed and the subject, Mr. Stern, was very open and sober the sharing of his storyPublished 1 month ago by Barbelo
a hagiography...with warts. I wish more had been devoted to what he did and how he changed the world than about his personal life with the director.Published 1 month ago by Ellis D Vener
Worth watching even if you are not in the Photography or Advertising industry. So many good stories and so many iconic characters.Published 1 month ago by Dave'sBookCloset
Very good portrait of one of the icons of photography of our time filled with insights from friends and colleaguesPublished 2 months ago by Andee Sue