Robert Snyder’s The Titan: Story of Michelangelo opened in 1951, and rightly earned that year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Adapted in part from Curt Oertel’s Michelangelo: Life of a Titan, with a musical score by the noted German conductor Alois Melichar, Snyder’s film was as powerful a tribute in its own time as was his Michelagniolo: Self Portrait of nearly four decades later. Again, we feel the swirl of violent events surrounding the artist’s own struggles; the symbolic smashing of the great David sculpture becomes an allegory for its tragic times. The film bears the name, as sponsor, of the legendary documentarian Robert Flaherty; no greater tribute could be imagined…
“The Titan is more than merely a relic of its times. Even in black and white, it set a new standard for bringing the essence of a sovereign artist to the screen. Robert Snyder’s own passion for exploring the nature of artistic creativity is as evident here as in his later masterpiece. The critic James Agee described it as “a new and exciting way to see some of the greatest work ever done. It still is.”
- Alan Rich, Los Angeles Daily News
In the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas wrote, “…as the camera caresses both marble and canvas alike, we hear Michelangelo’s thoughts about his life and work. It evokes the very spirit of the man.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called it a “…serious and sensuous portrait of Michelangelo.” And in the Los Angeles Daily News, “…the timelessness and sheer beauty of its images make this film anexperience not to miss.” Bonnie Churchill wrote in The Christian Science Monitor, “…like a shaft of sunlight in a dark room, the commentary explores the sculptor’s thoughts and emotions,” and “…a very personal insight into Michelangelo’s work and life.”
Bonus: BBC Documentary about Michelangelo
A short documentary about Michelangelo Buonaroti.
Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The Great Artists – Michelangelo : A very short documentary hosted by Tim Marlow. A very general overview for those interested in Art History.
More on this blog: Michelangelo – Art’s first superstar