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Calling Hedy Lamarr (2004)

A Face, a Tag Line, an Invention. Two facets that don't seem to belong to the same woman. A Hollywood star as an ingenious inventor piques our curiosity. The director Georg Misch is ... See full summary »

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...
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Anthony Loder ...
Himself (as Antony Loder)
Denise Loder-DeLuca ...
Herself
Charles Stansel ...
Himself
Edie Stansel ...
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Caitlin Stansel ...
Herself
Hans Janitschek ...
Himself
Peter Shen ...
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Roy Dunnegan ...
Himself (as Sergeant Major Roy Dunnegan)
Arlene Roxbury ...
Herself
Marianna Newton ...
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David Hughes ...
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...
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Peter Gardener ...
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Arianne Ulmer ...
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A Face, a Tag Line, an Invention. Two facets that don't seem to belong to the same woman. A Hollywood star as an ingenious inventor piques our curiosity. The director Georg Misch is interested in how truth and myth intertwine. He listens to stories about her told by people who knew her. He dissects the history of the woman with the exotic eroticism who not only made surprising and daring decisions in her private life, but who caused a sensation with an intrepid film project right from the start. What is left? her first film Ecstasy with its scandalous nude scenes, movies that nobody has seen or heard of, a sixty-year-old son who is still struggling with his relationship to his mother, an invention whose patent ran out too soon, so that what has become a cornerstone for wireless communications, which are in constant use in our everyday lives, brought its inventor late fame but never earned her any money. At the end of the day what lingers is the echo of her fascinating beauty. The way ... Written by Anonymous

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12 May 2006 (Austria)  »

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Chamando Hedy Lamarr  »

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User Reviews

 
An outstanding documentary on one of the most misunderstood geniuses in human history...
8 February 2010 | by (Petersburg, Vasaria) – See all my reviews

Being a fan of the Austrian-born inventor and Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000), I've waited for years to see this obscure 2004 cinematic documentary on the lady herself, which is hosted and co-produced by her son Antony Loder (1947- ), now the manager of a telephone store in Los Angeles. Thanks to the generous help of a fellow Hedy Lamarr fan, I finally had a chance to see this rare film recently.

This fascinating documentary not only explores the exciting life of an attractive Viennese girl, Hedwig Kiesler, who later became an alluring Hollywood movie star with the name Hedy Lamarr and the nickname "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" but also explores her troubled private life of six husbands and three estranged children, her enigmatic and independent personality which continues to be the subject of debate and, most impressively, her patented plans, co-designed by American composer George Antheil (1900-1959) in 1942, of an ingeniously complex radio-controlled, frequency-hopping guidance system that was intended for Allied torpedoes during World War II but later found its use in today's cell phones, wireless Internet, guided missiles and most other telecommunication devices the world over. Instead of receiving the enormous credit she deserved for her revolutionary work, Hedy and George's plans were rejected by the U.S. War Department on the grounds of impracticality, her screen career gradually waned and she lived a life of content privacy during her later years. But with this contentment came two shoplifting incidents, several plastic surgery operations with horrifying results, and numerous legal battles involving the use of her name in products and films, most infamously in the Mel Brooks Western parody BLAZING SADDLES (1974). However, as late as 1997 she was finally recognized for her ubiquitous technological achievement despite the unfortunate fact that the patent for her invention expired decades ago and technological companies had easy access to it without her permission.

Skillfully written and directed by Georg Misch, CALLING HEDY LAMARR refers to Hedy's frequent use of the telephone as a communication tool with her family and friends. During her final years in her modest Florida home, she would spend up to six or seven hours on the phone and was found dead with the phone by her side and the phone book in her lap. This title is put to artistic use throughout the film, in which several people who were involved in Hedy's life "call" the deceased Hedy in another world but she does not pick up the phone (using footage of Hedy in her classic films, most notably LET'S LIVE A LITTLE). With the charming Antony Loder as host, the viewer experiences a son attempting to understand his adoring and kind yet sometimes distant and difficult mother through the creative use of private audio tapes of Hedy's voice and a number of women of all shapes, sizes, and ages portraying Hedy in mock screen tests. Also along this mysterious journey we meet the likes of Peter Gardiner, son of British character actor Reginald Gardiner, and Arianne Ulmer, the daughter of director Edgar G. Ulmer and the director of one of Hedy's better films, THE STRANGE WOMAN (1946), both of whom reveal unique and interesting information regarding Hedy's screen career.

CALLING HEDY LAMARR is an absolute must-see for fans of this rather neglected Hollywood legend and lady with a brilliant and courageous mind behind her astonishing natural physical beauty. Despite its 71-minute running time, this deeply moving documentary has everything a Hedy Lamarr fan could want: pleasant trivia, bittersweet ironies, terribly sad revelations, and hopeful longings for the future of technology and humankind. The world would certainly be a different place without Hedy Lamarr, the face that launched a billion cell phones.


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