Directed by Mark Blottner, Ilko Davidov & Denis Mueller • Documentary • 2015 • 85 minutes
This in-depth portrait of notorious American author Nelson Algren uses interviews, rare archival footage, and the gritty voice of Algren himself to capture the elusive and unique literary figure whose fame was cemented with the success of The Man with the Golden Arm and A Walk on the Wild Side.
Algren rose to prominence when he won the National Book Award in 1949 for The Man With The Golden Arm, which was later adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. His book A Walk on The Wild Side inspired Lou Reed's hit. Despite his mainstream success and pop-culture bona fides, Algren's career was irreparably damaged by FBI and CIA surveillance during the Red Scare.
Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Paul Buhle and others provide literary, social, and historic perspectives on a six-decade long career that produced five novels, two collections of short stories, countless articles and a public affair with Simone de Beauvoir. While his best work was produced over 50 years ago, Algren's prescient focus on disenchantment with consumer culture was prophetic, and remains relevant today.
"Compelling, exciting, enlightening." —Chicago Tribune