Newest Reviews
Mountain Men, The
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Newest Articles
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
  Filmworker Totally Devoted To YouBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Tony Zierra
Stars: Leon Vitali, Ryan O'Neal, Danny Lloyd, Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Stellan Skarsgård, Marie Richardson, Tim Colceri, Brian Capron, Julian Senior, Pernilla August, Lisa Leone, Brian Davieson, Treva Etienne, Chris Jenkins, Nick Redman, Stanley Kubrick
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Leon Vitali was an actor with a promising career, working mostly in British television from around the early seventies where he was a familiar face in youthful roles of all sorts, with a regular job on sitcom The Fenn Street Gang. But when he saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, he thought it was the greatest film he had ever watched, and when its director Stanley Kubrick brought out his next, A Clockwork Orange, Vitali made up his mind, this was a talent he simply had to work with. Therefore, when Kubrick started casting his following effort Barry Lyndon, the actor jumped at the chance to be included, and the great director noted his enthusiasm and dedication. Leon wouldn't act much more...

Filmworker was a documentary that asked, is it a sacrifice of a life if the victim truly loves what they do? Vitali, once he had appeared in Kubrick's historical epic, convinced him to give him a job as his assistant on his next, The Shining, and if this was to be believed, Kubrick would have had a lot more difficulty completing it had Vitali not been around to do that assisting, even down to the casting of the key role of five-year-old Danny (Danny Lloyd, who grants a rare interview that doesn't last too long, but was evidently done out of respect for his best buddy on the set). Then there was Full Metal Jacket, and lastly Eyes Wide Shut, three films that made it to fruition among many that did not.

We are gently asked to question whether filmmaking is a valid use of your time, never mind film-watching. Kubrick was undoubtedly a genius, but the anecdotes we hear are of a mercurial personality who could charm the socks off you one minute, yet blast you with his fury the next, such was his all-encompassing perfectionism. That sense that he was manipulating even this documentary to sustain the interest in his canon through his most devoted admirer was never far away, after all he had manipulated Vitali for over two decades and as star Matthew Modine observes, the lackey had turned into an Igor to Kubrick's mad scientist Dr Frankenstein, completely willingly.

This did not merely stop at managing the cast of those final three efforts, it went as far as ensuring the advertising was to his master's satisfaction, that his filmography was being preserved and remastered to his exacting parameters, and that every country would be getting the very best version the studio could muster. It goes beyond dogsbody, it's more like Vitali sold his soul, yet was enraptured at being in the presence of a genius who trusted him. Director Tony Zierra amassed a huge collection of behind the scenes footage and photographs, plus interviews with key players (and a few more peripheral ones), though nobody from Kubrick's family was talked to; we did hear from some famous personalities, however.

Ryan O'Neal was Lyndon, and he was obviously included for a reunion with the actor he beat up in that film though oddly all we see of that is a fleeting moment of him and Leon on the sofa together. Then there was R. Lee Ermey, the ex-sergeant who replaced Tim Colceri in Full Metal Jacket; you admire his chutzpah, and he was right that the role made a career for him, but Colceri is interviewed too and it obviously still smarts that while he also had a career, it was far lower profile than his usurper. But then, there is a lot of cruelty here, with mentions in passing of crewmembers on Kubrick's films who suffered nervous breakdowns (Shelley Duvall is not mentioned, but her well-publicised mental illness pops into your mind on more than one occasion while watching). That's not to mention how that eventual perfectionism could have sabotaged the director himself, preventing him from making more films after The Shining when he was too bothered with securing the correct frame for an ad campaign, or whatever minutiae that didn't matter as much as he believed. Vitali himself has no regrets he'll admit to on camera, but he was in his late sixties here and looks about a hundred years old.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 253 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith


Last Updated: