You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Genius on Hold’

The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a long, rambling denunciation of corporations as the cause of the Great Depression and the current economic crisis, forms an ill-fitting frame to the Shaws’ story, which opened March 1 at select locations.

After running afoul of his employer, Bell Telephone Co., Shaw found himself virtually blacklisted, and wound up working for the mob making “black boxes” for bookies. He was hauled before the Congressional Committee on Organized Crime, and jailed. Leaping madly from the general to the specific, and hemorrhaging credibility along the way, Marquette’s universalized approach blunts the impact of the Shaws’ individualistic, offbeat bios (Thiel was a notorious jewel thief). Nevertheless, the collusion of the government in establishing the Ma Bell monopoly neatly dovetails with the company’s refusal to recognize — or remunerate — the elder Shaw for his pioneering patents. He died penniless.

Genius on Hold

(Documentary)

Reviewed on DVD, New York, March 3, 2013.  Running time: 91 MIN

A Freestyle Releasing release of a Top Cat, Walter T. Shaw production, Produced by Shaw. Executive producers, Mitchell, John Schultz. Co-producer, Diana Ross-Shaw.

Directed, written by Gregory Marquette. Camera (color, HD/B&W), Rick Siegal; editor, William Heins; music, Daniel Cole, Jack Douglas.

With: Walter “Thiel” Shaw, Linda Honey, Milton L. Mueller, Howard Abadinsky, Marco Ceretelli.

Narrator: Frank Langella.

Film Review: 'Genius on Hold'

More Film

  • Isle of Dogs

    The 10 Best Films of the 2018 Berlin Film Festival

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • Indian Actress Sridevi Kapoor Arrives For

    Legendary Bollywood Actress Sridevi Dies at 54

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • NMHC Impact Awards

    Aubrey Plaza, NHMC President Call Out Under-Representation of Latinos at Impact Awards

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • Emma Chambers'HOW DO YOU WANT ME'

    'Notting Hill' Actress Emma Chambers Dies at 53

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • Las herederas The Heiresses

    Berlin Double Silver Bear Winner 'The Heiresses' Sells Major Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • Touch Me Not

    Berlin Festival Awards: 'Touch Me Not' Wins Golden Bear for Best Film

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

  • Dovlatov

    Berlin: Netflix, Multiple Foreign Distributors Take Alpha Violet’s ‘Dovlatov’

    The genius at the center of Gregory Marquette’s well-illustrated docu “Genius on Hold” is Walter Shaw, inventor of the speakerphone, call-forwarding and conference calls, among other communications breakthroughs. Produced by Shaw’s son, Thiel, whose interviews are interspersed throughout, “Genius” offers a fascinatingly idiosyncratic example of what Marquette decries as corporatism. Unfortunately, the helmer’s preface, a […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content