In a time where quality films are hard to come by, director Tom Donahue’s documentary Casting By sheds light on a disregarded formula that has brought success to Hollywood in the past. His brilliant look into the role of the once highly-regarded casting director suggests that the film industry could once again benefit from a highly skilled, intuitive eye in helping to identify character traits in actors to fill today’s movie roles.
The film pays homage to Marion Dougherty as one of Hollywood’s elite casting directors of the past. The list of actors that she scouted and fought for to star in films reads like a who’s who of Tinseltown royalty. With names such as Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, and Jon Voight all passing through her doors, her eye for talent and screen presence was undeniable.
Also highlighted in the film is the work of acclaimed casting director Lynn Stalmaster whose credits include Gunsmoke, Fiddler on the Roof, Deliverance, The Graduate, and Welcome Back, Kotter.
The endless list of stars that were discovered by the casting directors of yesteryear is a testament to the quality of the films that were produced in an era where Hollywood placed a premium on acting talent and screen presence.
Tom Donahue’s enlightening documentary on Hollywood’s unsung vital contributors to the film industry is entertaining for both film aficionados as well the casual television viewer. The talent rich film and television culture of the sixties and seventies is a testament to the prowess of those who once excelled in one of the film industry’s often overlooked craft.