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Thomas Edison
Biography on DVD

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Thomas Edison
Biographies on DVD

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Edison: The Wizard of Light (2000) Review:  New York City, 1931. Movie producer Jack Maloney has just completed a labor of love: his documentary on the life of the great inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Jack wants his wife, actress Kate Cruthers, to take a look. What results is an engaging, Emmy Award-winning family drama about the 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration required to build an impassioned life. As Jack's "documentary" clicks along, we learn that he met Edison (played with great sincerity by Kenneth Welsh) while fleeing from St. Patrick's Orphanage in 1893. Chased by truancy officers, the then-12-year-old boy (actor Michael Suchanek) ran smack into Edison's New Jersey lab, winning Edison's affections and landing a long-term apprentice job. Believable conversations between mentor and student about education, life, and the invention of Edison's light bulb and phonograph are dotted with many recognizable, timely quotations.

As the film follows their 35-year relationship, viewers see how Edison dedicated his life to "the betterment of mankind" and sacrificed time with his family as a result. The unspoken father-son bond between the two men--stronger than Edison's relationship with his own wife and children--comes to a head as the adult Jack (Jesse Collins) challenges Edison's tenacity. Reconciliation and a deeper empathy for each other's choices caps off this nicely paced, beautifully filmed and scored presentation. A well-spent hour for families with children over 6 years old or for elementary school students studying American inventors.




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