Bert Stern: Original Madman (2013)
Bert Stern, also known for his seminal film Jazz on a Summer's Day, experienced a meteoric career that began as a mailroom-boy at Look Magazine, where he formed a close relationship with young staff photographer Stanley Kubrick. The launch of Stern's career and the Golden Age of Advertising would coincide with Stern's iconic and legendary "Driest of the Dry" campaign for Smirnoff in 1955. Set against the backdrop of the Egyptian pyramids, this ad would sell more vodka than Smirnoff had dreamed, transforming America into a martini-sipping country and launching Stern to star photographer status at the age of 25. Sought after by Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and the international fashion scene, Bert was at the heart of what creative director George Lois called "the creative evolution." His groundbreaking images of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and the infamous Lolita image from Kubrick's film, coupled with his astonishing success in advertising, minted Stern - along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon - as a celebrity in his own right. … More
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Critic Reviews for Bert Stern: Original Madman
The latest in a long parade of limp couture-chronicle documentaries.
Nobody is easier on Bert Stern than the filmmaker, four decades his junior, and his long-time squeeze.
Feels as though it's all Laumeister could squeeze out of artist before he tired of her company. Although erratic, the picture maintains a basic understanding of Stern's peculiarities and urges.
An effusive, sad, visually gorgeous, and illuminating portrait of the artist.
Now in his 80s, Stern recalls his rise, fall and reinvention without evasion or apology.
"Mad Man" presents a tantalizing overview of Stern's work as a photographer, confidently placing him among the greats in his field. But Stern as a person? Not so great.
It's a documentary that's filled with beautiful images but nonetheless feels unfocused.
Here's a documentary that comes from an unusual angle, the subject's lover looking at both the artist and the man dispensing with rose colored glasses.
If someone is that bored with their own life, it's not clear why we should bother listening in, no matter what they've accomplished.
There are myriad problems with Bert Stern: Original Mad Man -- not the least of which is a title that shamelessly and needlessly gropes for relevance by attempting to cozy up with Don Draper and co.
While Bert Stern: Original Madman mines its subject's work for a steady stream of striking visuals, his self-narration proves to be of little interest, offering little variation on a single theme: his love/lust for women.
Absolutely smashing, revealing documentary about one of the great photographers of our time.
An unappealing jumble of sex, regret and hero worship, "Bert Stern" is an odd tribute to brilliance muffled by lust.
Despite its admittedly intriguing parts, the film ultimately feels too diffuse and self-indulgent to represent a truly incisive portrait of its subject.
The film does offer some revealing anecdotes about his infamous Monroe sessions, but mostly, it simply slouches from one sensationalistic, salacious bit to the next, sans any historical context.
A sometimes uncomfortably intimate portrait of a man who seems unsure if he has a place left in the culture he helped to shape.
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