A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Bob Crane, the star of the TV sitcom Hogan's Heroes, was the victim of an unsolved brutal murder in 1978. Auto Focus follows Crane's life beginning in 1964 when, as the likable family man and California disc jockey was given a breakthrough role as Col. Robert Hogan in the surprise hit. Crane's new found made women more accessible and he began to foster a sex addiction which was even more enhanced through a friendship with an electronics salesman named John Carpenter. Carpenter was able to provide Crane with state of the art video equipment which they used to film their escapades, and as Hogan's Heroes got cancelled, Crane's life would spiral out of control with his obsessions growing until that tragic day at his Scottsdale, Arizona apartment. Though not scripting, director Paul Schrader finds in Bob Crane's life a story of man unable to control his temptations, the type of story he does so well. Greg Kinnear wonderfully embodies Crane, presenting a likable almost phony exterior while also conveying his inner demons. Willem Dafoe is his equal as the latcher on Carpenter who himself grows obsessed with Crane and was the probable culprit in his murder, but was able to walk due to shoddy evidence. Ron Leibman does fine work as well as Crane's agent who tries to help the man and warn him against his scandalous behavior. Auto Focus transcends the celebrity biopic that tells a story of human weakness and obsession, and does so in a captivating fashion.
DVD Extras: There is an excellent documentary in the Special Features called "Murder in Scottsdale" which interviews detectives and attorneys involved in the Bob Crane murder investigation and explains how poor police work and lack of evidence allowed John Carpenter to be acquitted.