Who Is Norman Lloyd?
Directed by Matthew Sussman
November 23 through 29, Film Forum
Who is Norman Lloyd? Peter Pan and Father Time, according to one enthusiastic friend featured in Matthew Sussman's hagiographic documentary about the nonagenarian actor-producer. A minor character actor, according to me. As a Brooklyn-raised upstart in the 1930's New York theater scene, Lloyd had the luck to work with some great directors, including Elia Kazan and Orson Welles. The high point of his 70-plus-year career was his role as the saboteur in Saboteur, which will be paired as a double feature with Who Is Norman Lloyd?
for the week of its run at Film Forum. But after being blacklisted, he never really got his groove back, doing stints on various '70s and '80s TV shows. Sussman's filmmaking is workmanlike and conventional, interspersing old photographs of Lloyd's days on Broadway and in Hollywood with interviews of everyone from Ray Bradbury to Cameron Diaz. ("It's exhausting to spend a whole day on the set, working and emoting . . . emotions," Diaz tells us seriously, praising her In Her Shoes co-star's powers of concentration.) I'm still not convinced that Norman Lloyd "should" be a household name, as the film argues, but there are worse ways to spend an hour than listening to him shoot the shit about Brecht and Hitchcock.