Saturday, June 7, 2008

Harlan Ellison

Art is supposed to be hard. Art is supposed to be demanding.
That's the way I feel about it.
—Ellison in Dreams with Sharp Teeth

Dreams with Sharp Teeth is a documentary about Harlan Ellison. Produced and directed by Erik Nelson, the film portrays Ellison as "Monster. Genius. Legend." Contentious, abrasive, idiosyncratic, prolific and talented, Ellison is widely considered "one of the greatest writers of the 20th century." He's probably best known for having written the original series of both The Outer Limits and Star Trek. Although he seems to belong to the science fiction world, Ellison disliked genre-pegging and described his work as "speculative ficton."

Ellison has taken the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird. It's said he's used this name when he feels his contributions have been irreparably changed, thereby telegraphing that he's distanced himself from the project he feels is "for the birds." His vocal and litigious position on creative rights, copyright infringement and his consequent (and possibly unwitting) social activism have made him a notorious advocate for fair play in the creative community.

I should do a freebie for Warner Brothers? What is Warner Brothers...out with an eye patch and a tin cup on the street?
Fuck no!
—Ellison in Dreams with Sharp Teeth

From thereview in New York magazine
With more than 2,000 published stories to his name and a genre-spanning body of work—including memorable episodes of Star Trek and The Outer Limits—Harlan Ellison’s career has placed him in a category all his own. But what makes this bracing documentary, 27 years in the making, is Ellison's incredible personal history. In between all the writing, he feuded with Frank Sinatra, sang alongside Barbra Streisand in a Village café, and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If that’s not a life worthy of a film, we’re not sure what is.
—Michael Alan Connelly

From the story in The New York Post
Harlan Ellison is one hell of a writer… It would seem no easy task conveying the essence of a bigger-than-life figure like Ellison in a 96-minute film. But Nelson, producer of Werner Herzog's ‘Grizzly Man,’ makes it look easy.
—V.A. Musetto

The Film Forum in Manhattan is running Dreams with Sharp Teeth through Tuesday June 10th. You and I know we won't get into the city to see it before its close, so I've added it to my queue at Netflix.

—Ellison from the cover of Dream Corridor

The trick is not becoming a writer.
The trick is staying a writer.
—Ellison in Dreams with Sharp Teeth

1 comment:

sparky said...

Nelson, producer of Werner Herzog's ‘Grizzly Man

so that's the rub for me?!; producing junk for the sake of 'keeping it real'