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MPAA Rating - R

    106 Minutes


Original Release Date:
    Mar 18, 2003

    Paul Schrader

    Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello, Ron Leibman

Movie Summary
The life and sordid, untimely death of Hogans Heroes star Bob Crane are explored by director Paul Schrader in this biopic, which marks one of the few times the filmmaker has not scripted his own film. Auto Focus chronologically traces the meteoric rise of Cranes show business career, beginning with his early success as a jokey deejay on Los Angeles morning radio in the early 60s. A devout family man, Crane lives in Southern Californian comfort with his wife Anne (Rita Wilson) and their young children, relishing the modicum of celebrity his job provides him. His life begins to change, however, when his agent Lenny (Ron Leibman) proposes that he take a breakthrough role on the CBS POW-camp sitcom Hogans Heroes. Initially reluctant to take the job, Crane signs on with the production and, to his and everyone elses surprise, the show becomes a smash hit. With celebrity comes a new set of friends, and Crane falls in with audio-visual guru John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe), a Sony sales rep who spends his days setting up home entertainment systems for the Hollywood elite, and his nights cruising strip clubs for anonymous sexual encounters. Already a pornography buff, Crane starts using his fame to secure him and Carpenter an endless parade of affairs, which they videotape and then obsessively review. It isnt long before Anne demands a divorce, and Crane marries his Hogans co-star Patti Olsen (aka Sigrid Valdis, here played by Maria Bello), whos more accepting of his escapades. When the sitcom is canceled, however, Crane has trouble securing acting jobs, and recedes further and further into his life of amateur porn with Carpenter. Auto Focus premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals before its art-house run in the fall of 2002. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide


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