Genius On Hold (2013)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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At the heart of GENIUS ON HOLD is the story of Walter L. Shaw-a brilliant inventor with an astonishing list of telecommunications patents to his name including call forwarding, touchtone dialing, speakerphone and voice recognition. His ground-breaking designs should have earned him great fortune and lasting fame, but for one thing-the power, greed, and oppression of AT&T, the largest, government-sanctioned, telecommunications monopoly in the United States which blocked him from realizing his dream. Punished, imprisoned, and eventually destitute, Shaw was drawn to the only organization that would reward him for his talent-the mob, whose bookies used his "black box" and "blue box" to run their gambling operations and evade the Feds. His son, Walter T. Shaw, embittered by his father's destruction, turned to organized crime and became one of the most notorious jewel thieves in American history. All to get back at the system that destroyed his family -- but at what cost?
PG (for thematic elements, brief language and some smoking images)
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
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Frank Langella
as Narrator

Critic Reviews for Genius On Hold

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (3)

Marquette, aided by Frank Langella's precise narration, has crafted an engrossing and disturbing tribute.

Full Review… | February 28, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This promisingly tragic tale is sunk by cartloads of context and an overbearing, slanted narration.

Full Review… | February 28, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

A far-reaching narrative of government venality and big-business greed that's all mapped succinctly but substantively.

Full Review… | February 26, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

A movie that underscores that the winners and losers of some battles of capitalism aren't always confined to a single generation; its shadows are long ones.

Full Review… | March 25, 2013

A provocative side trip into Americana, as fascinating as it is tendentious.

Full Review… | March 1, 2013
Film Journal International

Though overstuffed, his film eschews pop-doc conventions by opting for in-depth analysis over superficiality.

Full Review… | February 25, 2013
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Genius On Hold

Terrible. Heavy-handed. It tried to land a ridiculous broadside against capitalism using a monopolistic Ma Bell and a dysfunctional family as its contenders. There was no corroboration; only talking heads. The Kennedys, AT&T, technology, the Mob, blacklisting, deregulation, thievery, penology...I think the filmmakers set a record in the number of incoherent stories told in 90 minutes. How on earth this 12th grade history class project got 80% is beyond me.Frank Langella should file suit against the filmmakers for negatively affecting his future income as a voiceover.

Steve S
Steve S

Interesting subjects, shitty execution. How this gets release at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema for a minute let alone a week is beyond me. Youtube would be more sufficient.

Jack Gattanella
Jack Gattanella

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