The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector (Vikram Jayanti, 2009)

| September 15, 2014

By Mary Schuler DeWitt

Earlier tonight, I had the unfortunate pleasure of watching the The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector (dir. Vikram Jayanti).  The film itself seemed flat and uninteresting. If you don’t know who Phil Spector it’s not that important.  He was a record producer back in the 60s and was credited with such radio hits as You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by the Righteous Brothers. Personally, I am not a fan of most of the music he produced with the exception of John Lennon’s Imagine.

Spector was on trial in 2007 for murdering an actress, Lana Clarkson, by shooting her in the mouth, in his home late one night back in 2003.  He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The film is an indie focusing on Spector in the courtroom and also being interviewed in his home. These scenes are overlayed with older footage of his hits from the 60s. He mentions his career quite a bit during the interview, but never the woman whom he is accused of murdering. Did he do it? It seems from the movie as though he was guilty.

The film was an attempt to capture Spector’s entire character and not just what the media made him out to be. The movie includes  the media coverage plus it exposes us to the spectacle of what his life eventually became. Even from prison, he is still producing records for his fourth wife, Rachelle Spector, e.g., one entitled, Out of My ‘Chelle.  At least the title is clever.