Frank Lloyd Wright

Photo Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

Accomplished documentarian Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have masterfully chronicled the triumphant yet tragic life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Using stock photography and beautifully filmed footage of Wright's greatest creations, Burns and Novick follow his life from his turbulent childhood to his last masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum, completed six months after his death.

Scandal and misfortune followed Wright throughout his years. A rich and successful family man, he sacrificed it all to be with his mistress and true love, Mamah Cheney, only to lose her in a fire. Virtually blacklisted in the States, Wright designed the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, one of only several buildings left standing after the famous earthquake of 1923. This bolstered one of his many comebacks into architectural society.

In his sixties and strapped for cash, Wright began the Taliesin Fellowship, an enterprise more like a commune than a school which he operated out of his home in Wisconsin. Students were responsible for growing food as well as building Wright a new retreat in Arizona. It was during this time that he created most of his greatest designs, including Falling Water and the Guggenheim Museum.

In his work, Wright evolved a simple philosophy based on his reverence for the natural landscape: "I'd like to see architecture that belongs where you see it standing." Frank Lloyd Wright was a fascinating man who proved that architecture is indeed one of the most beautiful and gallant forms of art.

- Mary Kerr

Directed by: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
Written by: Geoffrey C. Ward
Starring: Julie Harris, Edward Herrmann, Philip Bosco, Sab Shimono
Produced by: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick

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