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

  • Surfer Review

    Film Review: 'Surfer'

    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 […]

  • Korean Actress Lee Ha-nee Signs with

    Korean Actress Lee Ha-nee Signs with WME, AGI for Hollywood Debut

    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 […]

  • iatse-logo

    IATSE President Matthew Loeb Blasts Editors Guild Leader Over Contract Dispute

    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 […]

  • The Nun Trailer

    'The Nun' Eyes Hefty $32 Million-Plus Opening Weekend

    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 […]

  • M Review

    Locarno Film Review: 'M'

    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 […]

  • David Ready

    Chernin Entertainment Ups David Ready to Exec VP of Film and Television

    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 […]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Cuts Film Selections for Subscribers to Six-Seven Titles per Day

    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