: : : Frank Lloyd Wright - A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Story

The beauty of Frank Lloyd Wright is that aside from telling a long and often melodramatic story lucidly, it deals with issues of art and architecture in ways that are approachable but not simplistic. (It's also surprisingly scandalous, although this is seen as part of his art.) Wright was first and foremost a rebel who took his cues from nature, though, as one commentator points out, this is not to say his approach was natural. What he was rebelling against was the clutter and claustrophobia of Victorian architecture. The rooms he designed opened up on each other, and his exteriors seemed to grow laterally out of the landscape. All of these ideas are neatly illustrated--although it perhaps could have been explained how Wright's later, whimsical designs related to his earlier, earthbound ones--with some marvelous footage of a Wright lily pad column supporting a load of sandbags and quiet Steadicam shots of Wright interiors that give the viewer a feeling for his sense of light and harmony. The filmmakers have wisely kept the technical talk to a minimum, but they are also not afraid to step back and let the experts ruminate on the nature of his genius, even when these experts are at a loss for words. Burns has made stars of some of his commentators in previous films, and in this one the late critic Brendan Gill shines. Wright himself comes across as a man who never doubted himself, a lousy father, and self-consciously Byronic. His vitality and larger-than-life persona seemed to belong to the 19th century, making him--and this is perhaps a mixed blessing--the last of his kind. --John Clark

Cast

Edward Herrmann

  • Genre: Documentaries
  • Director: Ken Burns
  • Producer: PBS
  • Length: 178 min
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJan 1, 1998
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaAug 28, 2001
$  Compare Prices
Frank Lloyd Wright - A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick mini icon
0 / 10
Rate
(0.1638/d/web8)