Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
It takes a village to make a movie, and it takes elder statesmen and women to make sure it heads in the right direction. With an IMDb filmography that places him at the helm of countless classics, Alan Ladd Jr is one of the legendary Hollywood executives. Blade Runner, Body Heat and The Empire Strikes Back are just a few of his contributions to the film canon, and he worked tirelessly up until the 00s.
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies looks at this prolific yet laconic figure through the anecdotes of many of the Hollywood icons he brought to fame, including Morgan Freeman, George Lucas, Mel Brooks, Ron Howard and Ben Affleck, to name a few. The silver screen elite sing his praises and help detail his meteoric rise to success, supporting George Lucas to get Star Wars made and eventually becoming head of the film division at 20th Century Fox. Laddie eventually broke out to start his own studio, and continued to take risks that paid off big with the likes of Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire. A large part of the film allows ample space for these legendary directors to reminisce about their early days and how Laddie always fought for creative freedom – making profit was never his only driving force.
While it’s endearing to hear Ridley Scott wax fondly about shooting Blade Runner, Laddie doesn’t offer much introspection or exploration into its main subject. Directed by the subject’s daughter, Amanda Ladd-Jones, this exercise in profiling feels more like a high school show-and-tell than a documentary, and no amount of A-list cameos can redeem it. Perhaps there was a copyright issue, but instead of getting old interviews, video footage, clips from films, the film is sloppily patched together using old photos, which becomes tiresome quickly.
Laddie built a career on playing his cards close to his chest, and remains tight-lipped in his interview. This withdrawn central focus and the cloying tone of Ladd-Jones combine to offer little more than a painfully extended “Lifetime Achievement Award” video.
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is released digitally on demand on 26th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies here: