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John Garfield2002

  • 4.0
Mark Rappaport completed his concise portrait of the legendary John Garfield in 2002, comprised (like much of his filmed essays) from existing film footage of the actor. Exceptionally engaging, Rappaport's extraordinary short contains more insightful observations of its subject than many feature-length biographical documentaries.

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Official selection of the 2003 International Film Festival Rotterdam.


2 members like this review

Wow—I can't believe so much about the man could be packed into so brief a film. The choice of clips and images are excellent. As another reviewer wrote, it makes you want to see more of Garfield's work. What higher complement is there for such a documentary?

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Member Reviews (25)

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top reviewer

Wow—I can't believe so much about the man could be packed into so brief a film. The choice of clips and images are excellent. As another reviewer wrote, it makes you want to see more of Garfield's work. What higher complement is there for such a documentary?

2 members like this review
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John Garfield was amazing, and it was a tragedy that he was blacklisted -- bringing his demise and death all too soon. The world would have loved to have seen him as Stanley Kowalski, on the stage or on film. I wanted to know the name of every single film that was shown here, so I can watch each one.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Garfield is somewhat forgotten today, but his talent and stature put him right up there with Bogart and Cagney. His 1950 film, "Breaking Point," is highly recommended.

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That is a really nice little documentary.

1 member likes this review

Terrific, concise bio.

1 member likes this review

Amazing how much information was packed into such a short film. Garfield was a character I knew next to nothing about and I came away wanting to watch some of his films. Stimulating my interest in the subject beyond the bounds of the film is a very successful effort for me.

1 member likes this review

Very nice - concise and informative. It makes you want to see more of the actor's work.

1 member likes this review

John Garfield was one of the truly great actors. I just love to watch his films. What is so sad is that he is so forgotten by today's audience. This documentary was very good and hit on many important points regarding his life as an actor, his liberal "leanings" and his blacklisting. The only one issue I have is in this documentary is it is stated he died during the run of "Golden Boy." When this is not true, Golden Boy had closed a month or so before his death due to his inability to perform the role because of his damaged heart. The main thing is that he died too young and many feel that HUAC and the blacklisting contributed in a large way to his untimely death at 39. The stress was just too much for his heart to take. I have written a petition to get his films into box set and I am posting the link here in case someone reads it and would like to add their name. I hope some do. To me, WBs should have put his films in box set years ago. Here is the link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/778/073/466/give-star-recognition-back-to-a-legendary-star/

Thank you.

Lori

1 member likes this review

Garfield was brilliant. Sometimes painful to watch him. Why do young distinguished actors die young? James Dean, Heath Ledger? Think of the work we could have seen had they lived.

1 member likes this review

... Sal Mineo, River Phoenix

Mark Rappaport has a remarkable facility for knowing what goes into stardom and what makes an actor work in life and on screen. His longer form works are excellent but he does just as well with this short visual/aural essay on Julius Garfinkle, a.k.a John Garfield, Hollywood's favorite born loser/tough guy from some place in New York City. But for a bad decision and bad luck, he would have originated Stanley Kowalski. Maybe history is better for not having THAT happen but the actor left some good performances. A star from the film of his screen debut in 1938's "Four Daughters", the actor seemed to just be Warner Brothers second string tough guy except for those times when some film (e.g. "Pride of the Marines", "Saturday's Children")let him show what he could do. He fared better away from his home studio, especially in what is now known as film noir ("The Fallen Sparrow", "The Postman Always Rings Twice"). Striking out on his own, he hit pay dirt producing and starring in such noir classics as "Force of Evil"and the unforgettable "Body and Soul".

Sadly, real life was just as harsh to the actor as his film were to his characters. Communist hunters destroyed his career just as he was truly finding himself as an actor (his more radical wife was their real target)and the strain hastened his death. (Playwright Clifford Odets,who's "Golden Boy" Garfield starred in on stage, wrote "The Big Knife" based on the actor's sad end.) The actor has been somewhat lost in the sands of time, before his own, not quite like those he prefigured. It's nice to see that someone appreciated him for what he was.

1 member likes this review

Excellent, I have always loved John Garfield

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Excellent, insightful portrait of a heroic and enigmatic movie star.

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Truly the equal of many biographical documentaries 12 times in length. What a fascinating and complex man and performer. I will never view either John Garfield or his movies in the same light again.

This is a wonderfully compact and incredibly detailed portrait of a great American actor. The selection of clips magnificently supported the dialogue. I had not known of John Garfield and this was a wonderful introduction. So tragic that he was gone by age 39.

Not familiar with this actor and this was a very short biography of his movies.

Very precisely angled essay about John Garfield, his persona and politics. Mark Rappaport seems to believe that every utterance by Garfield on screen was written, felt and thought out by Garfield himself, but I buy it as far as it goes.

Such an excellent little tease..

Nice thumbnail biopic. I'll be seeing more of Mark Rappaport's work.

The beautiful and the doomed.

Interesting. A little known leading man....more to him than meets the eye.

Thank you.

Excellent essay, Mark Rappaport!

Concise and compelling.

Well done, makes me wonder who (Hoover?) had it in for him on HUAC - the Hollywood Black List ruined so many great artists.

Enjoyed it..was a great actor!

just a very good film

More!! One of my favorites, would love a doc. on all my favorite classic stars. well done in such a short time.