Phil Spector

Phil Spector

DVD - 2013
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Academy Award winners Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star in this production written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning and Oscar-nominated playwrite David Mamet. An exploration of the client-attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, who represented Spector during his first trial for murder.
Publisher: [United States] : HBO Home Entertainment, 2013
Branch Call Number: DVD PHI
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (92 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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May 07, 2018

"The truth is somewhere in the mix," indeed, but this difficult film asks a lot of questions without presenting much in the way of answers. In the end, though, so much about seminal producer Phil Spector's life is fascinating and could've been illuminated well by a long, detailed documentary-esque film featuring these talented stars. Instead, Helen Mirren and Al Pacino do their best presenting the little snippet of history after Spector was charged with murder but before the trial ended.

Both those two powerhouse performers as well as the many actors and actresses who play the smaller parts do a fantastic job. That's not the problem. The fundamental issue remains that Spector is a Spinx-like character with a lot of contradictory aspects to him, the man mixing talented ambition with horrific callousness, and all that the movie does is poke around at some of the edges. It's worth watching, in the end, but it's flawed in a way that's somewhat disappointing.

Tremendous must-see film by the great David Mamet. This block of Mamet-written dialogue should clue you in to the delectable treats in store for you:

AL PACINO: (as Phil Spector) They're indicting me for murder. All right, sorry. "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" - what was it? Are you kidding me? What was it? It was - it was the greatest song ever released. I sold over 2 and a half million copies. You say that Jews invented the music business. The Jews didn't invent the music business. I invented the music business. Seventh Avenue, New York, there's a statue, a little old Jewish guy, yarmulke, bent over a sewing machine. He's that guy invented ready-to-wear. I invented the music business. Where's a statue of me? Where's the presidential medal? (Puts record on turntable)

THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS: (Singing) You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips...

PACINO: Sidney Poitier broke the color barrier? Are you kidding me? He was playing Superman. You want to know who he was? He was an uptight, frightened, white guy's version of a black man. I put the Ronettes in their home. I put black America in the white home. First time you got felt up, first time you got somebody's hand on you, guess what? You were listening to one of my songs.

Jun 15, 2015

If you are interested in the actual case, check out Reckless by Carlton Smith

Jan 02, 2015

A well crafted film. I can see that some people don't get that Phil Spector is a creative and therefore entitled to his own unique rules and style.

For those people who would like some insight into why Phil is who he is -- look at the quotes - it's not easy being at the top and in front of a large audience.

There were so many layers here -- even some comedy -- the only reason I didn't give this an A+ rating is that I felt that the film ended too soon. I would have really liked to see Phil (dressed in honor of Hendrix) address the jury :) !!!

Jun 25, 2014

I enjoyed this film, if only for the spectacular acting (I am not a big Mamet fan). It's focus was a very narrow time within the whole of this event and there was very little background information on the actual murder/suicide/accident, which was interesting because you had only the information that his lawyers were developing to defend him against the murder charge to inform your opinion. I had forgotten that there was a hung jury and that he was only found guilty in a second trial. I can understand the hung jury-if they got to see the demo that Helen Mirren's character came up with, it was a pretty powerful argument for reasonable doubt. The absence of this attorney (and possibly the demo) in the second trial may have been the determining factor in that jury's decision. Al Pacino was great as Spector.

Green_Bird_203 Mar 09, 2014

This movie doesn't tell us why Phil is what he is, and what made his personality so weired and out of touch. Mamet & Pacino seem interested in an extremely eccentric character, but failed to gain the sympathy from audience. Great performances by Pacino and Mirren went no where. I hope this HBO movie wasn't financed by Phil under his manipulation.

Gary Geiserman
Feb 18, 2014

Mamet/Pacino-land; a very fun place to be. Mirren, too! Yeah, no history, which is only too bad since Spector is an amazing life, infinitely more so than this story. All trial stuff, which isn’t very interesting (few are; I don’t know why trial is a genre except for the anal/retentive ocd types), but good to know (I didn’t). But this IS Pacino/Mamet and that’s it’s own genre, the funnest. There really isn’t any courtroom, Mamet likes us.

THUD55 Jan 29, 2014

this movie was less than I expected. it dealt more with his trial than his past and why he was so weird. they played the hit songs he produced but did not go into his past at all so he just seemed like a really weird guy. hard to sympathize with him.

Jan 26, 2014

Was too busy in 2003 to follow Phil Spector's trial which I learned from this film. Lot's of memorable quotes from Spector and his two leading defense lawyers.

Dec 13, 2013

A welcome film noir that allows two great actors to display their talents. Pacino, appropriately for this film, chews the scenery in scary fashion. Mirren plays a super defense attorney who gradually succumbs, mentally, to Pacino's overpowering charisma and intelligence. No car chases, no bedroom sex scenes but a very good adult film.


Add a Quote
Mar 13, 2014

I don’t let myself get depressed. Depression is a wasted emotion to me like pity,
it’s a wasted emotion.”

I envy the little old lady who sits in front of the TV and believes and holds her
hand up to the screen and says Amen. Yes and believes that she is gonna get to
Heaven and believes there’s a thing there after
. When little Phillip [his son] died,
I may no
t believe in God but I know there’s a Devil. You know, I mean, I wish I
believed. I wish to hell I believed.”

Mar 13, 2014

“They ostracised me in high school. They had nothing to do with
me. I was not
popular, we were poor but the rest of the school was wealthy, middle class white
Jewish kids who were very stuck up.”
“I was just a loner and was always treated with contempt; they [the establishment]
never considered me with the same resp
ect that they considered Berlin or
but that just builds up the anger and the rage which made you do
better, made you do a lot better.”


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