Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies is a richly textured and heartfelt documentary which looks at the life and career of studio chief and film producer Alan Ladd Jr. Ladd, the son of Hollywood star Alan Ladd might not be a household name, but his place in Hollywood history is secure. Ladd is the man who had the foresight to give Star Wars the green light at 20th Century Fox and also produced such iconic hits like Blade Runner, Chariots Of Fire, Police Academy, Braveheart (for which he won an Academy Award) and Gone Baby Gone.
Directed by Ladd’s daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, the film isn’t just a portrait of the mogul’s life, it’s also a way for Ladd-Jones to connect and understand her father, who was mainly absent during her childhood as he helped bring a slew of classic films to the screen. The fact that interview roster for the documentary includes such big Hollywood heavy-hitters as Ben Affleck, Mel Brooks, Richard Donner, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver shows the high regard in which Ladd is held. They all share great memories about the filmmaker, as well as adding some insight into the films they made with him.
In a business swimming with sharks, the main takeaway from Laddie is that he was a genuinely nice man who cared about the people he worked with and the films he made. If the documentary has a fault, it’s that no real negatives are brought out in the documentary – but that’s entirely understandable considering that the film was made by his daughter.
A highly engrossing film, Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies offers great insight into a man and an era of filmmaking which Hollywood will likely never see again.