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Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector

Vikram Jayanti

  • Country: USA/UK
  • Year: 2009
  • Language: English
  • Runtime: 102 min.

This riveting documentary looks at the musical legacy of the famed producer as he stands trial for murder.

official description

One of the greatest producers in pop music history, Phil Spector's employed his trademark "Wall of Sound" style to generate legendary hits for groups as diverse as The Ronettes, Ike and Tina Turner and The Beatles. While living a decadently reclusive life east of Los Angeles, Spector's famous penchant for wild behaviour reached its tragic zenith in February 2003, when the actress Lana Clarkson died from a gunshot wound at Spector's house. Charged with murder, Spector would go through two trials, during which he conducted a career-spanning interview with Vikram Jayanti of the BBC in 2007. Jayanti uses this interview as the basis for this candid portrait of Spector, who is equal parts charming and frightening, comparing himself to everyone from Galileo to Leonardo, Michelangelo, Modigliani, Bach and (most tellingly) Roman Polanski while savaging pop legends from Brian Wilson to Paul McCartney. Paying homage to Spector's incalculable contribution to twentieth-century music while also relentlessly exposing the culture of celebrity and the equally surreal world of the American justice system (in the interpolation of footage from Spector's trials), Jayanti's "portrait of a pop music genius as (pre-)convicted murderer . . . lives up to its grandiose title . . . to see The Agony and Ecstasy is to be discomfitingly haunted by the specter of that long-ago innocence" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice).
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