The Last Mogul: The Life and Times of Lew Wasserman

Directed by Barry Avrich

Release Year: 2005
Running Time: 103
Color Type: Color
Country: U.S.
Language: English [audio]
Subjects: Film Studies
$18.71 - Classroom Rights Buy DVD
$349.00 - With PPR Buy DVD
Cast
Robert Evans
Michael Ovitz
Jimmy Carter

Crew
Directed by Barry Avrich

WITH PETER BART, DAVID BROWN, HELEN GURLEY BROWN, JIMMY CARTER, CHARLES CHAMPLIN, DOMINICK DUNNE, ROBERT EVANS, LARRY KING, ALAN LADD JR., MICHAEL OVITZ, SUZANNE PLESHETTE, JACK VALENTI, RICHARD ZANUCK, AND MANY MANY MORE.

"If Hollywood was Mount Olympus,' says movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti in Barry Avrich's The Last Mogul: The Life and Times of Lew Wasserman "then Lew Wasserman was Zeus." Over sixty years as power broker at MCA and head of Universal Studios, Wasserman rewrote the behind the scenes Hollywood rulebook. In this "highly entertaining" (NY Post) documentary, Avrich succeeds in doing the impossible - piercing the shroud of silence surrounding a man who kept no notes, gave no interviews, and remains as feared in death as he was in life.

Lew Wasserman mastered the art of the deal with a ruthlessness and style all his own. "Dress British, think Yiddish," the invariably power-suited Wasserman advised his underlings. It was that mixture of cold-blooded imperialism and matzo-mafia chutzpah that brought Wasserman from Cleveland’s red-light rackets to Hollywood, and eventually extended his career-making and destroying reach from Sunset Boulevard to Pennsylvania Avenue. Out of the ashes of the studio system, Wasserman’s MCA became the first-ever entertainment conglomerate, gobbling up artists and contracts, pioneering the modern blockbuster, and forging sweetheart deals with union bosses, gangsters and US Presidents alike.

Featuring frank, juicy interviews with everyone from Robert Evans to Michael Ovitz to former President Jimmy Carter ("I don’t know if intimidation is the right word, but I took his calls"), The Last Mogul reveals show business' ultimate kingmaker in "sprightly, fast moving style" (New York Times) through the voices of those who knew him and feared him the most.

Critical Acclaim

"A smart, well-paced documentary that balances the man’s triumphs with his rare failures and discerningly explores the darker side of his power."-Los Angeles Times

"Oscar worthy." -Hollywood Reporter

"Barry Avrich has talked to just about everyone and asked all the right questions in his fascinating documentary." -Roger Ebert

"Refreshingly honest... and paced with consummate skill." -Variety

Awards

  • Official Selection Seattle International Film Festival