Dreams with Sharp Teeth

( 4 )

Overview

Anyone coming to Dreams With Sharp Teeth expecting a formal, traditionally organized biographical sketch of author Harlan Ellison will be disappointed. But what they will find instead is Ellison more or less unchained and ranging and raging across his past and into the future circa 2007, having great fun with his many and varied targets, and giving his own accounts of some of the triumphs that people often cite in his past. Perhaps the most satisfying moment comes when the author presents his version of one ...
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Overview

Anyone coming to Dreams With Sharp Teeth expecting a formal, traditionally organized biographical sketch of author Harlan Ellison will be disappointed. But what they will find instead is Ellison more or less unchained and ranging and raging across his past and into the future circa 2007, having great fun with his many and varied targets, and giving his own accounts of some of the triumphs that people often cite in his past. Perhaps the most satisfying moment comes when the author presents his version of one portion one of the least controversial portions of his Hugo Award-winning script for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" -- he ends up making the production crew for the series look like fools, and longing to see the story told as he wrote it. By contrast, presented without comment is one excerpt of the award-winning Outer Limits episode "Demon With a Glass Hand, which apparently was shot more or less as he wrote it. In between and around these two polar opposite successes of his early career, Ellison rails and laughs, berates and curses, and generally has a great deal of fun launching his barbs at a multitude of targets, including himself, as often as not. One eerie aspect of watching him across this fast-paced account, which covers many decades of his life, is realizing how much Ellison resembles the late actor George Grizzard as he looked and sounded from the 1960s to the 21st century -- if there was an actor who might've portrayed this unique personality in a dramatic context, it was Grizzard. But much more important than any such mundane observations is the keen appreciation that the filmmaker has for his subject, sufficient to take us on what amounts to a cinematic roller-coaster ride across one part of Ellison's psyche. That's how it's paced, and that how it's best to take in this delightfully quirky and lively nonfiction film.
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Special Features

Six bonus Harlan Ellison readings; Pizza with Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman; An evening with sharp teeth: the film's premiere
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
This lively documentary poses and seeks to answer the question, "Who Is Harlan Ellison?" It does so in distinctly nonlinear fashion, the structure taking more the form of overlapping concentric circles of varying diameters, each representing an aspect of the reality of Ellison's life, then and now, from childhood right up to 2007. The defiantly iconoclastic, often pugnacious and abrasive personality of its subject is on display in varying close-ups, seen both in archival footage and vérité material shot for this film -- and the consistency is remarkable across the decades represented. Critics might say that Ellison has perfected his performance of a "role," but if it is, then it's a role that fits him like a second skin and perhaps even closer to that. There are revelations along the way, including his Jewish background and upbringing, and what humor he doesn't mine from his persona and history, Robin Williams who is seen on camera with the subject at various points digs in and unearths, in all of its pungency. The result is less a formal biography than the cinematic equivalent of an Al Hirschfeld caricature, and just as accurate.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/26/2009
  • UPC: 767685154120
  • Original Release: 2007
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Video Group
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Time: 1:36:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 50,019

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harlan Ellison Participant
Erik Nelson Voice Only
Robin Williams Participant
Neil Gaiman Participant
Technical Credits
Erik Nelson Director, Producer
Randall M. Boyd Co-producer, Editor
Amy Briamonte Executive Producer
Wes Dorman Cinematographer
Richard Thompson Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Dreams with Sharp Teeth
1. Now it Begins [3:39]
2. Repent!!! [7:12]
3. Revenge [3:13]
4. Pay the Writer [3:37]
5. Lifetime Achievement [5:05]
6. One Life [10:39]
7. Ellison's Past Revealed [6:12]
8. L.A. Rocks [4:19]
9. The '60's [4:02]
10. The Mouth on the Road [3:22]
11. Mentor [4:40]
12. Habits: Bad and Writing [3:32]
13. Televised Works [8:28]
14. Hollywood [1:51]
15. Lawsuits: Take, That, Dog! [2:15]
16. The Glass Teat [4:43]
17. The Electric Baby [4:41]
18. Legacy [3:04]
19. Religion [4:50]
20. Confrontation [1:01]
21. Over and Out [3:36]
22. Credits [1:53]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Dreams with Sharp Teeth
   Play
   Scene Selections
   Readings
      The Glass Teat
      Prince Myskin, and Hold the Relish
      All the Lies That Are My Life
      The Silence
      The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie
      The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World
      Play All
   Short Subjects
      An Evening With Sharp Teeth
      Pizza With Mr. Harlan Ellison and Mr. Neil Gaiman
      Play All
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    a new experience

    I bought this because I am adding to my collection of Robin Williams projects. It wasn't at all what I expected. Robin has a minute part and the dvd is about Harlan. I found it to be informative. I learned a lot about a Hollywood writer I had previously not known existed.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I wish this man peace

    At the same time I am fascinated and intrigued by everything Mr. Ellison writes or talks about, I am forever grateful not to have the anger and insatiable restlessness that goes behind it. Here's the perfect example of the curse beyond the blessing that often defines enormous talent. Still, it makes for good theater for the rest of us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews