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Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater - Special Edition - documentary DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Lynda Waggoner, Richard Cleary
Director: Lynda Waggoner   Distributor: in-D Press/Microcinema International
DVD release: 29 July 2008   Runtime: 60 min. (2 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, Digital Sound, DVD-Video, Full length, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - English)

Discover for yourself the history of one of America's most famous homes: Frank Lloyd Wright's amazing masterpiece, Fallingwater. Learn how Edgar Kaufmann, his wife and his son met and became friends with Wright, and how that meeting produced one of the most famous homes in the world.

Kaufmann gained fame with his Kaufmann's department stores, and he and his family liked to get away from Pittsburgh for the weekends. They communed with nature at a place called Bear Run north of Pittsburgh and thought that might be a nice place for a weekend getaway. This was in 1937; they were riding the tail end of the depression. The collaboration between Kaufmann and Wright was a friendship first and after, and a sometimes tense business relationship during the construction.

Fallingwater is an interesting film just chockful of good information, excellent pictures, vintage film, and informative interviews. It could, however, use more live footage. An excess of present-day still photos are put through the Ken Burns treatment of panning across the still. While this is necessary for the historical stills, it seems silly for the present-day shot to not be in actual motion. Nonetheless, the information is good, the interviews are excellent, and the overall product is attractive.

The second disc, to be used in a computer, contains a Flash presentation with an aerial map of Fallingwater dotted with a number of links. Click on the link and see the picture from the location you clicked on. This includes still photos, architectural drawings, and Quicktime VR panoramas. While the interface lags from time to time, on the whole the experience is good. The designers dropped the ball on the Quicktime VR panoramas in not making them multi-node (making links within the panorama, linking to other panoramas or pictures). This would have made skipping from one spot on the map to another a breeze. The limitations of the interface are negated by the power of the excellent content, though, and the makers were thoughtful enough to make the interactive features Mac and PC-friendly, so nobody gets left behind.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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