Written by: FFT Webmaster | October 17th, 2011
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is one of the truly colorful figures of the past thirty years in the movie business. From his earliest collaborations with his brother Bob in the exploitation genre to the founding of 1990s powerhouse Miramax to the loss of the company and its reincarnation as the Weinstein Company, the Weinstein saga is a juicy one with enough highs and lows for an epic novel. Adding to the mix of speculation and facts is the new documentary film UNAUTHORIZED: THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN PROJECT directed by Barry Avrich. Weinstein, who helped revolutionize American independent cinema while cultivating a reputation as a hard-driving, loud-shouting bully, is profiled in the film, along with his hard-sell approach that found that there was big money to be made in low budget films. Starting with the indie breakthrough film SEX LIVES AND VIDEOTAPE and continuing through their collaborations with such seminal talents as Quentin Tarantino (RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION) and Anthony Minghella (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, THE ENGLISH PATIENT), the brothers’ story made them both admired and detested by the Hollywood elite. Their aggressive Oscar campaigns and championing of a host of American and international filmmakers turned them into highly influential kingmakers. When the sold the original Miramax to Disney, they were riding high for a while with deep pockets. However, when the brothers decided to put their backing behind such controversial figures as Michael Moore and Gus Van Sant, the marriage soured and the brothers soon were let go from the company that they originated. Their climb back to the top of the international film heap is one of the most compelling comeback stories of the past decade. As narrated by actor Peter Fonda, UNAUTHORIZED is not the tell-all that one was hoping for but it still elicits a mix of guffaws and hallelujahs as the indomitable Harvey takes on the establishment studio system. His success last year with THE KING’S SPEECH demonstrated that the old Harvey, albeit a bit mellower and less prone to throwing tantrums and telephones at his employees, is back with a vengeance.