'Raúl Juliá: The World's A Stage'
(Raúl Juliá / DVD / G / 2019 / PBS)
Overview: 'Raúl Juliá: The World's A Stage' is a revealing portrait of the charismatic, groundbreaking actor's journey from his native Puerto Rico to the creative hotbed of 1960s New York City, to prominence on Broadway and in Hollywood.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Raúl Juliá was a Puerto Rican actor who received international recognition. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he took an interest in acting while still in school.
Upon completing his studies, Raúl decided to pursue a career in acting. After performing locally for some time, he was convinced by entertainment personality Orson Bean to move and work in New York City.
Raúl, who had been bilingual since his childhood, soon gained interest in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. He took over the role of Orson in the Off-Broadway hit Your Own Thing, a rock musical updating of Twelfth Night (he also performed in mobile projects, including the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater).
In 1991 and 1993, Raúl portrayed Gomez Addams in two film adaptations of The Addams Family and in 1994, he filmed The Burning Season, for which he won a Golden Globe Best Actor award, and a film adaptation of the Street Fighter video games.
Later that year, Julia suffered several health afflictions, eventually dying after suffering a stroke. His funeral was held in Puerto Rico, being attended by thousands.
For his work in The Burning Season, Julia won a posthumous Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Award.
Directed by Ben DeJesus, 'Raúl Juliá: The World's A Stage' traces Raúl's personal and professional journey, showcasing his groundbreaking performances and humanitarian activism.
Before diversity and inclusion were part of the national conversation, Raúl with his magnetic personality and charismatic talent was able to amass a varied body of timeless work that helped pave the way for many Latino actors today.
Ergo, this 95 minute documentary showcases an artist driven by immense hunger and passion, with the man himself shown here under a reverential magnifying glass. The people gathered to offer up commentary and anecdotes do so out of love and admiration, clearly happy to be there.
I've been beating the drum for years, that he's often the shining star in an otherwise great cast, for the man has Charisma for days! So, in truth, I truly hope this marks a newfound recognition of his legacy, even if it's taken twenty-five years to happen.
Put simply, if you only know the man as Gomez Addams, do yourself a favor and give this a watch. It traces his arc from birth to tragic death, and I guarantee you'll walk away with a newfound appreciation for his art. Also, keep a tissue handy! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.