Goldstein (1964) Poster


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Maybe I Interpreted It Wrong, But....
Sturgeon5418 March 2006
It seems to me this movie, for all its show-offy experimentalism, is really an allegory about the creative/artistic process. A prophetic Elijah-like old man emerges from Lake Michigan, igniting the obsession of a sculptor of progressive artwork who is down on his luck to try and find him. Ditching his pregnant girlfriend after an illegal abortion, he enlists the help of his jive-talking pickpocket friend to look for the old man through various parts of Chicago.

The old man probably has the least amount of screen time of any character, and yet remains a rebellious, mischievous muse that the sculptor desperately searches for. Like the prototypical artist, the sculptor heedlessly disregards his financial security (giving away his valuable artwork to his friend) and his relationships in his quest for the inspiration of something new and original.

The on-location cinema-verite filming of unusual locations of Chicago circa-1965 is stunning, especially when few films from the period showcase that city (director Kaufman in his director's commentary states that Chicago was virtually off the map for filming movies at the time). The visual and aural non-sequiturs are decent, but it's the improvisational energy provided by the director and his cast which make the movie worth watching. Ben Carruthers, as the pickpocket, is especially engaging virtually every time he's on screen - it's surprising that he never became a bigger star than he eventually did. Like many debut films, the movie leaves a lot to be desired that better connections and budgets could have provided, but it also shows the intelligent creativity of Philip Kaufman which would be on display in his many later films.
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offbeat surreal humor
takseng5 July 2007
I looked for anything about this film for years without luck. If I remember, it is without a music track. In any case, silence is an important element in the film. "Goldstein" is filled with the color and flavor of Chicago. Famous and new features of the city were many times featured cleverly in the tale. The eponymous character, Goldstein, appears as an old man with a full gray beard wading out of Lake Michigan in long johns in a way that suggests that he came from another realm or nowhere at all. A nearly silent character, he engages in scenes which are mime-like, silent and bizarre.

There is a scene in which Goldstein is in the back of a truck loaded with junk traveling on the nearly new and vast Dan Ryan Expressway. He is throwing items off the truck onto the expressway and a siren can be heard at a distance. Gradually the siren approaches, and a police car appears. It pulls up to the cab of the truck and the police look in. Seeing that no one is driving, after taking a beat, they speed on, siren still blaring, as if it was someone else they were chasing.

Another scene without Goldstein, but with a doctor played by Severn Darden, I believe, is riding in a car going up inside the Marina Towers, a cylindrical building with scalloped sections that stands just by the Chicago River. The absurd quality of the doctor's conversation is punctuated by the fact that they are going around and around, so not only does the journey seem interminable, it is entirely impossible that the car would have looped so many times.

These pieces deserve being shared because no one knows this movie. I won't tell more, but "Goldstein" is a forgotten comic masterpiece. I hope that it may be resurrected and live and that I live to see it. I remember it as black-and-white, so the film may be serviceable, if it exists, after 40 years.
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A rambling, diverting romp through a now-defunct Chicago
erick roamer27 December 2000
A rambling, diverting romp through a now-defunct Chicago, GOLDSTEIN seems to have been co-directed by Phillip Kaufman. The aura of the student film hovers over this funny, inventive feature-- I'm thinking in particular of the way in which lovely, MOS sequences of Goldstein freaking out in various scenic locations are bookended by flat, two-shot sequences of miscellaneous characters having quirky, semi-improvised conversations. Apparently a lot of the Compass Players were involved in this film and even Nelson Algren throws in a garrulous little cameo.
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I just don't see what others see in this one.
MartinHafer12 May 2014
"Goldstein" won an award at the famous Cannes film festival. Likewise, the few reviews it has on IMDb are very positive. However, I just cannot understand any of this as I found the film to be extremely amateurish and awful. It's supposed to be a modern interpretation of Elijah, though I wouldn't have known this by watching the film--this is what Wikipedia has to say about this strange and rambling movie.

The cast of this film is made up of a bunch of Second City actors and a few others not from this comedy troop. However, despite its pedigree, I just didn't see or hear anything that made me laugh. And, you know it's going to be a chore when one of the funny guys in the film is Jack Burns. All in all, a painful movie to watch and one I wish never to see again.
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