(out of 5)
One of the most impressive artists of the twentieth century is neither a filmmaker, writer nor avant-garde painter: it’s Al Hirschfeld, the cartoonist whose drawings brought Broadway shows to life for decades. This delightful documentary takes a look at Hirschfeld’s life from the beginning in 1903 St. Louis through to his initial successes as a caricature artist in New York, up until the early nineties when his work was so well known that it became a symbol of accomplishment to have been drawn by him (the film was made before his death in 2003 at the age of 99). Many celebrities appear here, but it is Hirschfeld himself who is the most enjoyable subject, speaking quite modestly about his accomplishments without being in any way false about it. His influence is so great that pilot schools use Hirschfeld drawings (and the hidden “Ninas” in them) to test future aviators on their visual acuity. Take a look at this film and enjoy a glimpse at one of America’s most endearing and emblematic talents.
Directed by Susan Warms Dryfoos
Screenplay by Susan Warms Dryfoos
Produced by Susan Warms Dryfoos
Film Editing by Angelo Corrao