Mercado on TV: Must-see documentaries on Faye Dunaway, Celine Dion and Barry Otto

A new standard is set for celeb docos with Otto By Otto on the life of Barry Otto by his director daughter Gracie

It’s all about celebrity documentaries this week with Otto By Otto (Stan), Faye (Binge) and I Am: Celine Dion (Prime) all out now. These all-new retrospectives feature unique performers who get to tell stories on their own terms. 

A new standard is set for celeb documentaries with Otto By Otto as it looks at the life of actor Barry Otto by his director daughter Gracie Otto. There are home movies, his theatre career, iconic movies like Bliss and Strictly Ballroom, and his family that are letting him live his best life.

Not seen is Otto’s first TV role in Brisbane-made daytime soap Until Tomorrow (1975, Seven). He played a car salesman who pushed his pregnant wife down the stairs and then had an affair with the woman in the corner shop. When the show was axed, Otto told TV Times: “Perhaps the script was sometimes overwritten but the writing never at any stage embarrassed me as an actor.” 

Until Tomorrow wasn’t great, so that is a very gracious thing for Barry Otto to say. That positivity and optimism seem to have been a feature of his entire life. This beautifully made tribute to him is a delight from start to finish.

Faye (Binge) is about the incredible Faye Dunaway and she isn’t here to mess around. No subject is off limits, with her childhood, theatre years, and iconic cinema roles from Bonnie and Clyde to Network. It even discusses why she was considered “difficult” like so many other women in Hollywood.

Dunaway’s career was spectacularly derailed after playing Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. This is the first time she has spoken about a movie she didn’t expect to turn into a camp classic. However, she won’t be turning up at any midnight screening soon. She will make you reconsider that performance.

I Am: Celine Dion is an intimate look at the shocking disease that has ruined her singing career. It is very revealing and often shocking, but there are also some of her greatest performances and an over-the-top Las Vegas warehouse that stores all her costumes. She can tell you a story about every pair of shoes. Stunning.

This week on the TV Gold podcast:

TV Gold

Men Up, Land of Women, My Lady Jane, The Responder S2, Otto by Otto

New TV series and movies reviewed this week include:

Men Up (Britbox, movie) tells the story of the first clinical trial of the drug Viagra and the impact it had on the men and their partners.

Land of Women (AppleTV+, 6 episodes) stars Eva Longoria who suddenly flees New York for Spain with her mother and daughter.

My Lady Jane (Prime Video, 6 episodes) mixes period drama and fantasy in this story about Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for just 9 days.

The Responder (S2, SBS On Demand, 6 episodes) continues the story of corrupt Liverpool policeman Chris Carson as played brilliantly by Martin Freeman.

Otto by Otto (Stan documentary) is written and directed by Gracie Otto, celebrating her father, Australian theatre and film icon Barry Otto.


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