By: Brian Sebastian and Monteque Pope-Le Beau
The documentary “Carl Leammle” is an extraordinary study of a man who was the original father of independent film, the creator of the star system and who would go on to lay the groundwork for Universal Studios.
Anything is possible. Carl Leammle
Director James Friedman’s superb documentary “Carl Leammle” showcases the adventurous rebellious spirit and endearing love of film that made Carl Leammle a force of nature. He was a good natured easy going man of high character. The documentary beautifully portrays the life of Carl Leammle brilliantly weaving together various interviews from the Leammle family, historians, and Hollywood icons such as Hollywood legendary Director Peter Bogdanovich. It is a compelling story of one of the key founders of the the movie industry who was very much a unsung hero and one of the most successful producers in Hollywood . Launching the careers of such cinematic greats as Mary Pickford, Lon Chaneny, Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi. At a time when women had very little power and say in the industry Carl Leammle had 30 female directors and 45 female screenwriters a long with various female talent which was unheard of then and is still unmatched to this day. He also went up against Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patent Company and his media monopoly forming IMP (Independent Motion Picture Company) to fight for the independents right to showcase and distribute movies; which was a herculean task of a David and Goliath battle.
Carl Leammle was a German Jewish immigrant who had a great love for his hometown of Luapheim, Germany tried to raise a red flag when he took notice of the political situation in Germany pertaining to the rise of Hitler. He tried to voice his concerns about the threat of Hitler and his regime which he thought could bring a great deal of harm to the Jewish population along with millions of others throughout the world. With this in mind he reached out to William Randolph Hearst who Hitler was a favorite commentator and contributor of. Like so many others William Randolph Hearst turned a blind eye and ignored the warnings of Carl Leammle. As time went on it was apparent to him that he had to do something and in doing so with his humanitarian efforts he was able to saved over 300 Jewish families from the Nazis by helping them move to the United states. He used both his power and personal wealth to pay the immigration fees and to guarantee safe passage.
Director James Friedman documentary “Carl Leammle” is a testament of the power of what an individual can do in the face of unbelievable obstacles and unfavorable odds to create an endearing and powerful legacy.
The documentary “Carl Leammle” will premiere at The 14th annual Los Angeles Jewish film Festival opening Night Gala on Thursday, May 2, 2019 with a Q&A with writer/c, Peter Bogdanovich. For more information about the film go here. and for tickets to attend the opening night Gala go here.
“Carl Laemmle” 1h 31m
Director: James L. Freedman