Every film has a story behind them and this film is no exception. This is a story about a man who lived a glamorous life in Hollywood by socializing with stars and directors, yet in the public’s eye, he was just an unknown. That man is John Alarimo Jr., the one-time assistant-director and distant cousin to the man behind this melancholic documentary, Joe Forte. This short tale is really the story of a man whose cousin became his close friend.
Throughout the documentary, Forte tries to uncover the truth behind the man who lived a life working on films behind the scenes while also traveling and dining with some of the world’s most glamorous stars like Charlton Heston and Elizabeth Taylor. However, things are not as easy as they seem. Whenever pressed about a serious topic or subject, Alarimo instantly becomes cryptic and evasive, as if he doesn’t want the cracks to show. Having never married, living alone and in his eighties, Alarimo is shown as a wonderfully charismatic character that tells all of these exciting stories, yet never really reveals who he is… or if he ever did find true love. Despite having countless, priceless possessions in his keep, there’s a sense of sadness, of loneliness, and of melancholy that makes this story also somewhat tragic as a result.
Editing wise, this movie is put together beautifully; from the voice overs to the interview sequences to the photographs on display, everything is presented with real care and attention to detail, almost to the point where you feel as though you know Alarimo and his life story. Even though this movie can a bit on the short side, The Man Who Saved Ben-Hur felt like touching tribute to a man who, thanks to this movie, will now be immortalised forever in filmmaking history.
Dir: Joe Forte
Scr: Joe Forte
Cast: Joe Forte, John Alarimo
Prd: Joe Forte, Melinda Ann Farrell
Music: Chuck Graef
Run time: 54 mins
The Man Who Saved Ben-Hur is available on VOD and DVD now.