Smash His Camera
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A documentary examining the life and career of paparazzo Ron Galella, one of the most notorious of his breed, who was sued by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and once had his jaw broken by Marlon Brando.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ah, Ron Galella, the patron saint of Paparazzi. Itís amazing how age can make someone respectable. Once viewed as a parasite who was no better than a common stalker (his mad pursuit of Jackie Kennedy being particularly insane), the now seventy-seven year old Galella is being celebrated, with his photos, some of which are admittedly great, hanging in art galleries the world over.
SMASH HIS CAMERA is a fascinating look at his life and process. Despite his age, Galella is still at it, with him being filmed shooting Robert Redford (who seems to harbor an odd affection for the man), and trying to get a shot of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at a premiere. However, the focus is on his career, particularly his heady days at Studio 54, (his photos from which are said to have launched the current paparazzi craze) to his court battles with Jackie and his run-in with a pissed off Brando (brilliantly recounted by Dick Cavett, who interviewed Brando just prior to the incident).
One thing that SMASH HIS CAMERAS makes clear is that Galella, while a bottom-feeder at best, isnít really that bad a guy. He has a wife who loves him, and a loyal staff of archivists. While the lengths he went to pursue his celebs were questionable at best, he always had a sense of humor about it. Itís also worth noting that greed didnít seem to be his main goal, as he settled his lawsuit against Brando for a comparatively small $40,000- a figure which might have been into the millions if it happened nowadays.
A pretty solid selection of thoughful extras, including commentary by Leon Gast and Galella himself, some deleted scenes , and most noteworthy, a gallery of Gelella's favorite photographs, including his Mona Lisa, the windswept Jackie- which is the DVD cover art.
While I still despise paparazzi (having had my own run-ins with these bottom feeders at Sundance and TIFF), SMASH HIS CAMERA is nonetheless a fascinating, and fun watch. There are a few really great moments here, particularly a run-in the now aged Galella has with Robert Kennedy Jr., who, barely disguising his disgust asks him ďare you still hiding in bushesĒ. There also a rather sad scene where we follow a young starlet-wannabe checking out his photos, and not being able to identify Steve McQueen (ďis he a director?Ē she asks) or Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Pretty sad.