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"American Masters: Sketches of Frank Gehry (#20.7)"
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"American Masters" Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005)

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Sketches of Frank Gehry: Season 20: Episode 7 -- A look at the life and work of the renown architect.
Sketches of Frank Gehry: Season 20: Episode 7 -- A look at the life and work of the renown architect.


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View company contact information for Sketches of Frank Gehry on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
10 September 2005 (Season 20, Episode 7)
A look at the life and work of the renown architect. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
(4 articles)
Scheduling Sundance, Day 2: January 21, 2011
 (From Cinematical. 21 January 2011, 1:00 AM, PST)

Cactus Three sets fund to help complete films
 (From The Hollywood Reporter. 14 October 2010, 1:00 PM, PDT)

Sydney Pollack: Hollywood's Quiet Icon
 (From The Hollywood Interview. 26 May 2010, 3:22 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
How Sketches Become Structures In Frank Gehry's World See more (17 total) »


 (Episode Cast)
Charles Arnoldi ... Himself (as Chuck Arnoldi)

Barry Diller ... Himself

Michael Eisner ... Himself
Rolf Fehlbaum ... Himself
Hal Foster ... Himself (archive footage)
Mildred Friedman ... Herself
Frank O. Gehry ... Himself

Bob Geldof ... Himself

Dennis Hopper ... Himself
Charles Jencks ... Himself
Philip Johnson ... Himself
Thomas Krens ... Himself
Peter Lewis ... Himself
Herbert Muschamp ... Himself

Michael Ovitz ... Himself

Sydney Pollack ... Himself
Norman Rosenthal ... Himself
Edward Ruscha ... Himself
Esa-Pekka Salonen ... Himself

Julian Schnabel ... Himself
Milton Wexler ... Himself

Episode Crew
Directed by
Sydney Pollack 
Produced by
Stanley F. Buchthal .... executive producer (as Stanley Buchthal)
Cathrine Ellis .... line producer
Prudence Glass .... series producer
Julie Goldman .... co-executive producer
Ultan Guilfoyle .... producer
Maya Kamila Hoffmann .... executive producer (as Maja Hoffmann)
Krysanne Katsoolis .... co-executive producer
Susan Lacy .... executive producer
Sydney Pollack .... executive producer
Julie Sacks .... supervising producer
Caroline Stevens .... co-executive producer
Brainerd Taylor .... associate producer
Suzanne Weil .... executive producer
Hiro Yamagata .... executive producer
Original Music by
Claes Nystrom  (as Sorman & Nystrom)
Jonas Sorman  (as Sorman & Nystrom)
Cinematography by
Marcus Birsel 
Ultan Guilfoyle 
Sydney Pollack 
Claudio Rocha 
George Tiffin 
Film Editing by
Karen Schmeer 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bruce Sears .... assistant director
Sound Department
Adrian Bell .... sound recordist
Tom Efinger .... sound re-recording mixer
Tom Efinger .... sound supervisor
John Moros .... sound editor
Sean O'Neil .... sound recordist
Jon Oh .... sound
Nicholas Schenck .... additional sound engineer
Camera and Electrical Department
Marcello Duarte .... assistant camera
Eric Jennings .... first assistant camera
Michael Lindquist .... assistant camera
Steve Mulcahey .... key grip
Bruce Sears .... assistant camera
James Tavella .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Patrick Lindenmaier .... color correction
Michael Weingrad .... assistant editor
Adam Zucker .... additional editor
Jim Passon .... color timer (uncredited)
Other crew
Kiki Allgeier .... production administration
Heidi Druckemiller .... researcher
Hope Hall .... researcher
Sophie Heldman .... location manager
Melissa Lintinger .... production accountant
Nicole London .... production coordinator
Tanit Plana .... location manager
Heidi Sowards .... location manager
Keri Wilson .... assistant to director
Dia Sokol Savage .... thanks (as Dia Sokol)
Laura Stella .... special thanks

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Susan Lacy  creator: American Masters

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Germany:o.Al. | Singapore:PG | Switzerland:7 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Vaud) | UK:12 | USA:PG-13

Did You Know?

The last film (documentary) directed by Sydney Pollack.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Apocalypse Now (1979)See more »


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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
How Sketches Become Structures In Frank Gehry's World, 30 May 2006
Author: ( from Portland, Oregon, United States

Our current superstar on the world's architectural stage is profiled in this excellent documentary, the first by veteran narrative filmmaker Sydney Pollack, who is an old friend of Gehry's. The film has a relaxed, confident pace. And through it we learn about as much as one could ever hope to know about one man's process of transforming an initial sketch - some call it doodling: typically minimal, erratically penned lines and squiggles, a sloppy geometry if there ever was one - into a monumental structure.

This is no small task in Gehry's case, since he flaunts all of the staid rules of architecture. Rather than being constrained by conventional wisdom, he emulates the freedom of a painter or sculptor: folks in whose company he is far more comfortable than he is with other architects. In fact he'd rather have been a painter. Thanks to computer technology and rich clients seeking unusual structures, Gehry has the luxury these days of placing his doodles in the hands of a phalanx of model makers, software wizards and engineers who translate them into plans that work.

But it doesn't happen fast. Pollack brings forth from Gehry a demonstration of what is perhaps the central element in his success: a characteristic tendency to look honestly at his early efforts on a project, permit himself to experience displeasure, and reject the initial attempt in part or wholly, starting over again with an increased sense of confidence that his next draft will be better because of what he learned the first time around. (He worked for 12 years with one client to get a project right. It cost $6 million!)

The many scenes in which Gehry is engaged in dialogue with Pollack are excellent, illuminating his approach to his work and recalling early influences (his grandmother built structures of wood scraps with him on the floor as a young child; his father drew with him). Brief interviews with architects Philip Johnson and Edward Ruscha are also useful. Far less interesting are media/entertainment luminaries like Bob Geldof, Michael Eisner, Barry Diller and Michael Ovitz, who merely chatter at us as a way of introducing buildings Gehry has designed. (Who knows, maybe Pollack got money to finance the film by giving these people airtime, sort of like product placement.)

If the process of Gehry's architectural creation is well mapped here, the demonstration of his creative productions suffers some. Yes, we do get to see most of his public structures, and several private dwellings as well. And the uses of light and camera angles yield some quite exquisite views. But it all tends to go by too fast: the tracking shots are too speedy; the cuts too brief. It would have been better to linger more, to give viewers of these magical structures, many of whom might, after all, never have a chance to visit most of them, the sort of long gaze one would stop to take in if visiting the premises.

Movement is central to narrative film-making, as Pollack knows. Yet moments of repose are incredibly valuable in the documentary form, if art is the subject. Yes, I meant to say art, for what is most clear from this film is that Frank Gehry is - first and foremost - an artist.

Thanks to his talent and good fortune Gehry has found a way to yoke his artist's vision to contemporary technology to make structures that are aesthetically sublime, buildings that seem to defy and at times even escape the laws of physics that architecture demands to be fulfilled. My Grade: B+ 8/10

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