A documentary about the amazing life of Leon Theremin, inventor of the theremin, the electronic musical instrument so beloved of 50s sci-fi movie music. Theremin amazed America with his instrument until his kidnapping by Soviet agents in the mid-30s. Upon his release from a labor camp, he worked on surveillance devices for the KGB. Almost 60 years later , he is brought back to America for a touching reunion with his friends and colleagues. Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
In addition to being the inventor of the musical instrument that bears his name, Léon Theremin was also the inventor of the eavesdropping electronic-bugging device. See more »
In the documentary, Bob Moog makes a statement to the effect that Stradivarius designed the first violin. "Stradivarius" is not a person but refers to a musical instrument, usually a violin, made by Antonio Stradivari and his family. The violin existed as an instrument for more than a century before the birth of Antonio Stradivari in 1644. See more »
I was disappointed with this "film" for many reasons. First, it was impossible to understand the interviews with Leon Theremin. The version I watched had no English subtitles, so most of the last third of this "film" was useless. Also, they interviewed a woman with short, brown hair that spoke Russian with no subtitles. Another problem is that most of these people are not introduced or have their names on the screen. I had no idea who these people were and why they were being interviewed. (My opinion is the director didn't know why these people were being interviewed either.) Anyway, the last third of this "film" just drags on and on because you don't who the people are, and you can't understand what they're saying. It's so bad, it's really annoying.
Another problem is the look and feel of this "film". It was made in the early 90's, but has the look and feel of a 70's documentary. It appears that the director had no preconceived plan of what he wanted, so he went out and filmed all this footage and then tried to make a story out of it when he got back to the editing suite. I've worked on documentaries, and that's NOT how you should do it. The director had 15-20 years to improve upon the look of his "film", but did not. This leads me to think that he was very inexperienced. The "film" looks very amateurish and dated.
Is it all bad? No. The first 2/3 are fairly interesting and tell a good (if disjointed) story of Theremin and his inventions. I loved the performances by Clara Rockmore. They were moving and beautiful. All the archive footage was pretty cool. And Brain Wilson's interview is something you just have to experience for yourself - it's classic! I also enjoyed the interviews with Robert Moog - very enlightening.
All in all, this is a decent "film" (God, I hate it when they say "A Film by ______" in the credits. It sounds so pompous!) But, it suffers from a lack of direction which makes the last third so bad, it's painful. Plus, we can't understand what happened after Theremin was kidnapped and brought back to Russia. It's really frustrating.
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