Courtesy: CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures
Once you reach the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. Who hasn’t heard or repeated this old adage at one point or another in life? Well, CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures have started 2019 at the top with their brand new documentary Love, Gilda. Keeping that in mind, here’s to hoping that the nearly 90-minute documentary, which focuses on the life and career of the late, great Gilda Radner will not be the only great new offering from the two studios this year. That aside, this presentation is such a strong start for each side partly because of its main feature. This will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that comes with the DVD strengthens its presentation even more, and will be discussed a little bit later. The DVD’s average price point rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later. Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Love, Gilda. All things considered, they make Love, Gilda the first great documentary of the new year.
CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures’ new documentary Love, Gilda is the first great new documentary of the new year. That is proven in part through the documentary’s main feature. The primary content is a standard presentation, following the life and career of the late great entertainer, providing a look not just at the woman on camera, but the woman behind the lens, too. Needless to say, that in-depth examination of Radner’s life and career is a fitting tribute to Radner. It is such, that it will leave even the most emotionally steeled person tearing up to a point. Audiences learn over the course of the doc’s 86-minute run time, that her comedic roots were in here childhood. Even more surprising is the apparent long-term impact of her being bullied for her weight during her childhood. It would appear in watching this program, that Radner suffered from anorexia throughout the majority of her life as a result of that bullying. Of course, that is entirely assumption, but it would seem that there is a link there. Even more interesting (and sad) is her battle with ovarian cancer, which eventually is what took her life. She did not die as a result of drugs or alcohol, but from something far more unexpected. Her brave battle with the disease will keep those unfamiliar with her story completely engaged, and agreeing that the way in which she passed was so tragic. On a happier, note, audiences get a first hand telling of Radner and second husband Gene Wilder’s true love story along with clarification that she was never married to John Belushi. Wilder and Radner’s love story will move any viewer in the best way possible. On a related note, the revelation that Radner was married to former Saturday Night Live band leader G.E. Smith prior to her marriage to Wilder adds its own share of interest to the overall story, too. The readings from Radner’s own autobiography It’s Always Something and the highlights of her own personal notes adds yet more interest to the story. That is because they show even more clearly, the woman behind the lens. They reveal her to be such a fragile person, emotionally, but not just some diva type figure. Rather, they make her a figure to whom so many people can relate. She was just an average person going through emotional turmoil that every person goes through even today. These revelations add even more appreciation for Radner not just as an entertainer, but as a person. When one considers everything noted here, along with the vintage footage of Radner performing on SNL, The National Lampoon Show and even her earliest days working with a stage troupe, what audiences get through this doc’s main feature is a story that rivals any overly embellished story that Hollywood’s “Big Six” could ever develop. Hopefully none of those studios will ever try to tell their own unnecessary story of Radner’s life and career, but even if one were to make such a thoughtless move, this doc’s main feature would still outperform said presentation, proving again why docs are far better than said biopics. Now, keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the main feature of Love, Gilda is so important to the doc’s overall presentation. That presentation follows a standard formula, yes, but at the same time, it tells a powerful and moving story that will keep any viewer engaged and entertained. Of course, that primary content is only a portion of what makes the doc such a strong new offering from CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures. The bonus content strengthens even more, the foundation formed through the doc’s main feature.
The bonus content that is included with Love, Gilda strengthens the doc’s presentation even more primarily through its extensive bonus interview segments. The interview segments in question are more in-depth presentations that were segmented throughout the course of the main feature. They are with the likes of Martin Short (with whom Radner worked early in her career), SNL producer Lorne Michaels, SNL alums Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader and Radner’s family and friends. Poehler spoke warmly of Radner, saying that next to Carol Burnett, Radner was one of the most influential female entertainers in her own life and career. Additionally, Poehler states in her extended interview, that she regretted never having gotten to meet Radner because of Radner’s impact on her life and career.
Short talks during his extended interview that Radner’s “command of a room” and her “originality” were among the most important aspects of Radner’s personality. Additionally, he smiles as he recalls that Radner never tried to compete with other entertainers, but rather enjoyed just being with other entertainers. Short said of that nature that “it was an amazing aura. It wasn’t even stardom. It was something beyond that.”
As if all of these fond recollections are not enough, audiences also learn through another of the extended interviews where Radner actually got her name. It is revealed by one of those closest to Radner that she allegedly was named after the title character from actress Rita Hayworth’s 1946 starring vehicle Gilda. That story alone is certain to bring plenty of smiles and even some fond laughs. Between this revelation, the others noted here and so many others presented in the extended interviews, the story and picture that audiences get of Radner here is just as engaging and entertaining as that presented in the doc’s main feature.
The “home movies” and “gallery’ bonuses are not exactly the most standout additions in terms of bonuses. Even with that in mind, they help audiences to see even more, the importance of those extended interview segments. To that end, audiences will agree that the extended interviews are just as critical to this doc as the doc’s main feature. When those interviews and the main feature are paired together, their whole creates a presentation that proves even more why it is such a strong first effort from CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures. Keeping that strength in mind, it makes the doc’s price point money well-spent.
Love, Gilda’s average price point is $22.89. That number is obtained by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. It should be noted that the “buy” link at the doc’s official website takes audiences back to Amazon, and that while information on the film is listed at CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures’ websites, no “buy” link is available. Additionally, the doc is not listed at Books-A-Million’s website. Keeping this in mind, Love, Gilda can be ordered via the country’s biggest retailers, and at a price that will not break the bank. What’s more, the mode price of $22.39 means that the average price point is only barely above that most commonly listed price. That is even more of a positive for audiences. When one takes into consideration the depth and breadth of the information shared throughout the course of Love, Gilda, both prices prove to be equally affordable and worth spending. When one keeps all of this in mind, Love, Gilda proves in whole to be a strong start to 2019 for CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures, and easily the year’s first great new documentary.
CNN and Magnolia Pictures’ first new documentary of 2019 is also the year’s first great new documentary. Go figure, it has been released today, on the very first day of the new year. The doc’s main feature easily supports these statements, as it presents the story of someone who might have been a celebrity, but who never made herself like so many celebrities past or present. It presents Radner as someone to whom any everyday person can relate even today. It is a touching story that easily rivals any biopic that Hollywood’s “Big Six” might ever try to create. Again, hopefully none of those studios will ever try to ruin her life and legacy, but if they should ever go that low, this doc will still outdo anything they churn out. The bonus extended interviews included with the doc deepen Radner’s story even more, adding even more appreciation for her as a person and entertainer. The DVD’s average price point proves to be money well-spent, considering the appreciation that the main and secondary content creates. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Love, Gilda. All things considered, they make Love, Gilda a great start to 2019 for documentary fans, and the year’s first great new documentary. More information on Love, Gilda is available online now at:
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