Tajna Nikole Tesle (Secret of Nikola Tesla) Movie (1980)
Tajna Nikole Tesle
Reviews, from www.imdb.com
A bad movie about a great man, 27 May 2008
Author: stalker vogler from Xanadu
But nonetheless this is enjoyable for at least two reasons: one should know by any means about one of the greatest and far out personalities of physics who was not only an inventor but a true humanist who wanted to make natural resources available to everyone's use placing himself at odds with the money grabbing figures of the age who were more interested in their present then in the planet's future.
As for the movie itself it is a poor one as far as production values and artistic quality go, but that was to be expected considering that it has an old Orson Welles in it (and his girlfriend at the time, Oja Kodar) and everyone knows that by then Welles was working at the extreme periphery of independent movies. His role is interesting here because we can link it to his earlier attempts to criticize the American upper-class especially in The Magnificent Ambersons also featuring a character called Morgan. However, since this movie doesn't even have the qualities of a good TV movie his work here seems to make little difference, even if, and maybe this was his suggestion, he works a good entrance in the film.
The script presents some of the major events in Tesla's life in an honest attempt to present him as beautifully and completely as possible. The problem is that when the film cuts to what we assume to be flashbacks presented in German, Hungarian and probably Croat without any subtitles and consisting in visions Tesla had earlier in his life the shallow plot quickly dissolves. The acting is also not helping much but the fellow playing Tesla has a weird resemblance to Howard Hughes and I was surprised when he is shown as having the same quirks as the American director and inventor. Actually, and because the woman character in the movie is called Catherine, the movie sort of brought to mind The Aviator, but that may be my unconscious mind trying to find some greater quality in a movie that is poorly done even if enjoyable to some extent.
Croatian surrealist psychodrama!, 13 July 2002
Author: entheogenic_ink from Seattle, WA
First off, a warning to Anglophone Orson Welles fans who might be tempted to watch this movie simply for the man: it opens in Croatian sans subtitles, and schizophrenically jerks at times between tongues. However, Orson's appearances in this movie are all in English. Whew.
This movie is a melodramatic exploration of Nikolai Tesla's life and works. Without being overly spiritualistic, it accomplishes a sort of Lovecraftian horror(the elderly crackpot Tesla conversing with the deceased Westinghouse and Morgan). Flashing between nationalist Croatian nostalgia for Tesla's hometown, and unadulterated awe for the movie's real protagonist(alternating current), the film flips without warning into Croatian scenes and back to English.
One wonders how in the world the great Orson Welles found his way into this flick. Think Bela Lugosi in "Plan 9 from Outer Space". Perhaps because of the Croatian passion for a hometown boy who made good, though, most of the cast at least tries to transcend the film's heavy soap-opera mediocrity. Especially Welles, with an uncannily convincing portrayal of the overweight, suffering conniver JP Morgan.
If you can make it that far, be sure to watch for the scene in which Samuel Clemens visits a party and is introduced as "Mark Twain". Also watch for the scene in which a young and enthusiastic Marconi breathlessly accosts Tesla and announces his undying admiration. Tesla's arrival in America, and the carefully staged "scientific" demonstrations are also worthy nuggets. A pan shot of Los Angeles blanketed in smog: "LOS ANGELES U SMOGU".
This film is recommended for: anyone who enjoys Croatian art films; anyone who thinks Croatia is merely a staging-ground for genocide; Tesla devotees; electronics students; Orson Welles fans; and beginning filmmakers who wish to avoid making this film's boo-boos(stilted emotions, overmuch adulation for Tesla's private life).
Historically accurate? Not entirely. But the effort is there.