Review: Smash His Camera DVD

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Leon Gast
RELEASE DATE: 10/19/10 | PRICE: DVD $26.98
BONUSES: commentary, deleted and extended scenes, photo gallery
SPECS: PG-13 | 90 min. | Documentary | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Self-proclaimed “paparazzo superstar” Ron Galella, a guy with a camera who has been doggedly pursuing the famous and snapping their pictures since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were adorning the tabloids, is the subject of documentarian Leon Gast’s engaging new documentary Smash His Camera.

The Bronx-born Galella rose to fame (or arguably infamy?) in the 1970s with his photos of the era’s hottest personalities — Mick and Bianca, Calvin, Liza, Marlon, Sly, Michael, Cher and all the other stars we know on a first-name basis, including one who’s moniker was abetted by a single additional letter: Jackie O.

It was one of Galella’s pictures of the former First Lady — his stalking of her in and around New York is widely known, and she even took out several restraining orders against him a — that elevated him to a certain level of celebrity status himself. That might not be something to be proud of, but how many other paparazzi do you know by name? (Oh, and the picture in question is the one that adorns the cover of the DVD.)

Smash His Camera takes a colorful look at the life and career of Galella, offering lots of snapshots (naturally) and words from the man, who’s semi-retired now at the age of 77, but is still game to rise to a challlenge (like snapping Angelina and Brad at a premiere). His stories regarding his court battles, a fight with Marlon Brando, and the lengths he has gone to for his job are undeniably entertaining.

Among the special features on the DVD are a lively commentary with Galella, Gast and producers Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger and a photo gallery. Now, we usually don’t mention most discs’ obligatory photo galleries, but the one on Smash His Camera warrants some attention as it contains all of Galella’s favorites pics.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.