Leuchtturm des Chaos

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Leuchtturm des Chaos
Directed byManfred Blank
Wolf-Eckart Bühler
Written byManfred Blank
Wolf-Eckart Bühler
StarringSterling Hayden
Wolf-Eckart Bühler
Manfred Blank
CinematographyBernd Fiedler
Edited byManfred Blank
Distributed byBuhler Films (USA)
Prokino Filmverleih (West Germany)
Release date
  • 13 October 1983 (1983-10-13) (U.S.)
  • 21 October 1983 (1983-10-21) (West Germany)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryWest Germany

Leuchtturm des Chaos (English: Pharos of Chaos or Lighthouse of Chaos) is a 1983 documentary profile of the American actor Sterling Hayden (1916 – 1986).[1]

The film features discussions with Hayden concerning his life and career, intercut with clips and stills from his films.[2] It follows the actor through several long and digressive afternoon conversations with the German filmmakers aboard the barge in the Netherlands on which he was living.[2] Hayden smokes hashish and drinks heavily throughout, telling the filmmakers that they "have a record of exactly what alcoholism is".[1] Hayden recounts his shame at having co-operated with the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Second Red Scare, his pride in his achievements as a sailor, and adopts a scornful attitude towards his illustrious career as a Hollywood film icon.[1]

The film was shown at the 1983 Edinburgh Film Festival, where it was one of a few independent films singled out for praise by critic Steve McIntyre in an otherwise disappointing event.[3] In a review for The New York Times, critic Janet Maslin cited the film as an example of "documentary film making ... at its most laissez faire", lamenting that "[e]very discussion is allowed to proceed far beyond its natural conclusion".[1] She criticised the filmmakers' reluctance to rein in Hayden's "diffuseness of thought", "stilted" cinematography, inclusion of trivial and uninteresting details from the interviews, and their nonchalant and distanced attitude towards the actor.[1] Maslin's review concludes:

This makes for an unhappy spectacle all around, especially since Mr. Hayden seems excited about the film project and eager to communicate his thoughts and his history. Had the film makers carefully conveyed less about this tortured yet still-commanding figure, their film would undoubtedly have revealed more.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Maslin, Janet (October 13, 1983). "Leuchtturm des Chaos – a profile of Sterling Hayden". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Leuchtturm des Chaos (1983)". BFI Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  3. ^ McIntyre, Steve (1984). "New images of Scotland". Screen. John Logie Baird Centre/Oxford University Press. 25 (1): 53–59. doi:10.1093/screen/25.1.53.

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