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72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Influential radio personality Bob Fass revolutionized the airwaves by developing a patchwork of music, politics, comedy and reports from the street, effectively creating free-form radio. For nearly 50 years, Fass has been heard at midnight on listener-sponsored WBAI-FM, broadcast out of New York. Long before today's innovations in social media, Fass utilized the airwaves for mobilization, encouraging luminaries and ordinary listeners to talk openly, taking the program
    in surprising directions. Radio Unnameable is a visual and aural collage that pulls from Bob Fass's immense archive of audio, film, photographs, and video that has been sitting dormant until now. (Kino Lorber)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 20, 2012
    100
    Rarely has any film, fictional or documentary, captured the hypnotic effect of voices on the airwaves like this chronicle of Bob Fass.
  2. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Sep 21, 2012
    75
    Long before Occupy Wall Street, there was Bob Fass, the legendary overnight host on WBAI whose 50-year career is lovingly saluted in the documentary Radio Unnameable.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 17, 2012
    75
    Radio Unnameable is at its best when it tries to find some visual analog to Fass' vibe, courtesy of cinematographer John Pirozzi, who takes beautiful snapshots of a sleepless city. It also, in the Fass way, does a little meandering.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 19, 2012
    70
    The charm of Radio Unnameable is, finally, elegiac. It can make you wish - or, if you're lucky, remember - that you were a sleepless New Yorker in 1967, kept from loneliness by a gentle, soulful voice on the radio.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Sep 17, 2012
    63
    While crediting free-form radio pioneer Bob Fass with changing the culture of broadcasting, this documentary remains clear-eyed about the decline of community radio and the New Left.
  6. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    Sep 18, 2012
    60
    It's as haunting and heroic as anything you'll see on the big screen this year, even if the film itself has a tendency to traffic in an abundance of dead air.
  7. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Sep 18, 2012
    60
    Now 79, the man with the snow-white ponytail in the radio booth hasn't flagged; as one of Fass's contemporaries says, "He can let someone go on and on and on."
Score distribution:
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