Crumb (film)

Crumb (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Produced by Terry Zwigoff
Lynn O'Donnell
David Lynch
Starring Robert Crumb
Music by David Boeddinghaus
Cinematography Maryse Alberti
Editing by Victor Livingston
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics The Criterion Collection
Release date(s) April 28, 1995
Running time 119 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,174,695

Crumb is a 1994 documentary film about the noted underground comic artist Robert Crumb (R. Crumb) and his family. Directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O'Donnell and David Lynch, it won widespread acclaim, including both the Grand Jury Prize and best cinematography prize at the Sundance Film Festival.[1] The late critic Gene Siskel hailed Crumb as the best film of the year, as did critic Jeffrey M. Anderson, who writes for the San Francisco Examiner. It was released in the USA on April 28, 1995, having been screened at film festivals the previous year.[2]

Crumb is considered a moving film about the experiences and characters of the Crumb family, particularly Robert Crumb's brothers, Maxon and Charles, his wife and children (his sisters declined to be interviewed). Though Zwigoff had the consent of the Crumb brothers, some questioned the ability of the more disturbed brothers to provide that consent.[3]

Robert Crumb initially did not want to make the film, but eventually agreed. There was a rumor, accidentally created by Roger Ebert, that Terry Zwigoff made Crumb cooperate by threatening to shoot himself. Ebert has clarified this in the commentary of the film's recent Criterion Collection re-release. Ebert notes that “it may be true that Zwigoff’s life was saved because he did make the film.” [4]

During the nine years that it took to make the documentary Zwigoff said he was “averaging an income of about $200 a month and living with back pain so intense that I spent three years with a loaded gun on the pillow next to my bed, trying to get up the nerve to kill myself.”[4]

Despite strong reviews, Crumb was not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (the nominating committee reportedly stopped watching the film after only twenty minutes). The Oscar snub of Crumb, and the same year's equally acclaimed Hoop Dreams, caused a media furor which forced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revamp its documentary nomination process.[5] Zwigoff stated in an interview that: “The Academy Award thing had much more to do with the fact that at the time, a lot of the documentary membership was made up of distributors of documentary films. The rules have changed since then. But they would just vote for the films they distributed because it was in their financial interest to do so.” He continued: “I just assumed they were disgusted with the film."[6]

In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named Crumb the 14th best film of the last 25 years.[7]

External links


  1. ^ Marks, Laura U. (Spring 1995). "Drawing on the Edge of Madness - Terry Zwigoff's Crumb". Filmmaker Magazine. Archived from the original on 1999-02-24. (TOC)
  2. ^ Crumb, Release dates. IMDB.
  3. ^ Patricia, Aufderheide (2007). Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (1 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0195182705. 
  4. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (November 20, 2005). Crumb review. Chicago Sun Times.
  5. ^ Crumb.
  6. ^ Murray, Noel (August 10, 2010). Interview with Terry Zwigoff.
  7. ^ The New Classics: Movies. Entertainment Weekly. #999-1000 June 27, 2008.
Preceded by
Freedom on My Mind
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
Succeeded by
Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern

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