Review for Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies

9 / 10

Alan Ladd Jr may not be a name that many people know, but by the end of this documentary (and this review) you will come to understand just how important he was to our film lives.

This documentary, created by his daughter Amanda, is a wonderful look at someone who truly is one of the best things to ever happen to the movie industry. This is the man who greenlit Star Wars, Alien, Bladerunner, Willow, Chariots of Fire, Thelma and Louise, Braveheart, Police Academy… the list goes on and on.

His life is told in full from being almost abandoned by his father Alan Ladd Sr, who was the star of the film Shane and this led to his son going behind the camera rather than being in front of it. He worked as an agent and then moved into movie production in London before landing a job at 20th Century Fox. Here he was the sole voice for a little science fiction film that no one had any faith in. You may have heard of it: Star Wars. It is stunning how often he had to go to bat for films that we now consider to be blockbusters or masterpieces such as Alien and Bladerunner.

Throughout the documentary we get interviews from the likes of George Lucas, Mel Brooks, Sigourney Weaver, Ridley Scott. It is actually quite impressive how many A-List celebrities contribute and it is almost a testimony to how much respect they had for ‘Laddie’ as everyone calls him to be involved. There is a general feeling throughout the whole documentary that his quiet spoken nature was endearing and that everyone trusted him. It’s interesting to compare him to someone like a Harvey Weinstein who it seems has no one who will say anything nice about him.

I think the thing that stunned me so much was how many films he had his hand in. From watching other documentaries, I knew he was involved with Star Wars, Alien and Bladerunner, but I was unaware that he was behind the Police Academy series, Chariots of Fire or that he had even won the Oscar for Braveheart. Though there were misses throughout his career and the documentary goes through all his ups and downs, it seems as though the hits outweigh all of them, even just in regards to impact and legacy.

Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies is a beautiful documentary and could easily have just been an oversweet look at her father, but instead her love and the love of everyone else is backed up by just how much he contributed to the movie business. Very few people may have known who Alan Ladd Jr. was, but they do now.

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