Tribeca 2022: The Wild One ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 18, 2022)

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Tessa Louise-Salomé directs this biography of theater and film director Jack Garfein. A Czechoslovakian-born Holocaust survivor, Garfein (who passed away in 2019) only directed two feature films, The Strange One (1957) and Walk on the Wild Side (1961); but each was notable for tackling then-taboo issues (homosexuality in the former and rape in the latter). Garfein tells his own story, with a wealth of archival clips and photographs woven throughout.

Most affecting are his recollections of the concentration camps, and how this harrowing experience informed his work as an artist. He also recalls his longtime marriage to actress Carroll Baker (which I was previously unaware of) and his involvement with The Actor’s Studio in New York (he later moved to Hollywood and co-founded Actors Studio West). An engrossing and intimate portrait.

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