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In 1975, while accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, Orson Welles made a plea for the independent artists who made their art on the edges of Hollywood: "If there's any excuse for us, it's just that we're practicing the old American tradition of the maverick, and we are of a vanishing breed." The AFI celebrated Welles and his fellow mavericks in this 1990 portrait of 17 directors who defied, redefined, or simply worked around the system to create distinct films and unique cinematic visions. Ranging from pioneering filmmakers D.W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim and classical era iconoclasts Josef von Sternberg and Sam Fuller to modern American independents Alan Rudolph and David Lynch, it's more of an overview and appreciation than an exploration--at a whirlwind 90 minutes, it can't offer more than sketches of its subjects. But it's an inspiring trip through Hollywood history, illustrated with rare interviews and well-chosen film clips (many of frustratingly poor quality) and guided by the commentary of film historians turned directors Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and Peter Bogdanovich, among others. Other featured directors include John Ford, John Cassavetes, Sam Peckinpah, and Robert Altman. The film's writers, Todd McCarthy and Michael Henry Wilson, later shepherded two of the finest film documentaries ever made: McCarthy on Visions of Light and Wilson on A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Film.

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newVHS Hollywood Mavericks VHS (1990/Todd McCarthy/Michael Henry Wilson $9.99