Life, The Universe and Douglas Adams
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Published on May 22, 2011
If Hitchhiker is a must-see for the dedicated fan, so much more so is a new film biography of Douglas Adams entitled Life, the Universe, and Douglas Adams. While a shorter bio and tribute appear on the second DVD of the Hitchhiker release, this is a full length look at the life and work of Douglas Adams.
This film, by Joel Greengrass and Rick Mueller, explores the details of Adams' life in a warm, funny, loving way. Life is sentimental but never mushy and, while an obvious tribute to the man, it never becomes one of those insipid eulogies that seem to sprout overnight like fungi whenever a celebrity passes on. This is a realistic look at a real live human being from the points of view of those who knew him best. Interviews with Adams' early teachers and comedy partners and friends, including Mary Allen, Terry Jones, and Berkeley Breathed and sister Jane Garnier, are interspersed with previously filmed interviews with Douglas Adams himself, as well as film clips of Adams giving lectures... and even video of Adams on vacation. Wonderful pop-up style factoids appear onscreen at opportune moments, and a Babelfish translates British English (batting=driving about aimlessly) for clueless Americans.
Readers of The Salmon of Doubt will find much of this film familiar. Many of the incidents recounted here are mentioned in Adams' own writing, compiled posthumously in Salmon. We see film footage of Adams, a passionate defender of endangered species, hiking in Africa wearing a rhinoceros suit. Mark Carwardine, Adams' collaborator on Last Chance to See, speaks of their travels. Adams himself speaks about his fascination with animals and nature. We learn where "42" came from, and when Adams first discovered the importance of having a towel on hand at all times.
As I mentioned, this is a film about a real human being, foibles and all. Mary Allen remembers Adams "exuberant, overenthusiastic" reaction to his early success...enthusiasm which led to him crashing his first Porsche! An extended section of the film discusses his insecurities, an issue that was probably at the heart of his legendary inability to meet deadlines (though Adams claimed he simply "loved the whooshing sound they made as they went by").
But this is also a film about a loving, caring, truly good man. The Douglas Adams pictured here was funny, witty, brilliant, and above all, kind. Friend Kanwal Sharma recounts how he seemed to always find himself upgraded to first class when he traveled; only later did he discover that Douglas was arranging the upgrades behind the scenes. Perhaps the most telling feature of this film is the warmth and joy that radiates from each speaker as they remember Adams. Though his work was incomparable, this film makes it clear that his legacy was something far more important.
I should mention especially that Neil Gaiman is a fantastic choice as narrator of Life, the Universe, and Douglas Adams . The best documentaries are often ruined by dry, dull narration but there is no hint of that here. Gaiman is as warm and funny as the subject of the movie is and his voice draws the viewer instantly into the film. I was captivated from the very beginning.
Fans of Douglas Adams will want to watch this film again and again. Even better, those not familiar with Douglas Adams will learn a thing or two about being an all around decent human being, and ultimately they'll want to watch this film again and again, too. I smiled and laughed all the way through this movie, even through occasional tears. See this film when you need a good laugh, and a good cry.
Greater Talent Network Inc., 2002
Standard YouTube License
- 8:42 42 and Douglas Adams - Numberphileby Numberphile Featured 342,318
- 44:26 Douglas Adams - An Artificial God?by AlternateKnowledge23,570 views
- 1:27:37 Douglas Adams: Parrots the Universe and Everythingby University of California Television (UCTV)554,279 views
- 22:27 Big Thinkers - Douglas Adams [Author]by Pete Machnik22,013 views
- 2:59:32 A tribute to all the great documentaries (a video about everything)by postitforum12,403 views
- 53:05 Douglas Adams on The South Bank Show 2002by nave2211,335 views
- 41:39 Understanding 'angry' atheists - The Atheist Experience #506by TheAtheistExperience48,519 views
- 6 videos Play all Douglas Adams 1992 Documentaryby RamblerReb
- 10:28 Douglas Adams' Last TV Interviewby Barton Bishoff2,123 views
- 9:48 DOUGLAS ADAMS: AMERICAN ATHEIST INTERVIEWby Danny Zepeda49,907 views
- 46:29 TOUR OF THE UNIVERSEby topgamelord42,774 views
- 9:59 Chuck D & KRS-1 Interviewby GlobalTubeTruth53,154 views
- 1:07:21 Dark Energy and the Runaway Universeby DistinctiveVoicesBC75,922 views
- 25:40 30 Renowned Writers Speaking About Godby J Pararajasingham100,057 views
- 2:48:38 A Brief History of Timeby Vigorousdragon793,258 views
- 4:23 The Origin of God - Douglas Adamsby Danny Zepeda149,377 views
- 53:45 Arthur C Clarke - Fractals - The Colors Of Infinityby jayc2469175,011 views
- 7:47 Terry Pratchett on Godby MrOffensive6945,247 views
- 33:36 Universe: Journey from Earth to the Edge of the Cosmosby pangeaprogressredux147,203 views
- 9:50 Richard Dawkins: 'Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist'by TheGuardian582,110 views