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Nelson Algren

Filmmakers -Mark Blottner, Ilko Davidov and Denis Mueller
Run Time - 85 minutes
Languages - English
Format - DVD / Digital Streaming
Year - 2014
Genre - Documentary

Educational Interests- American Studies, Biographies/Profiles, Cold War Era, Communication, Cultural Studies, Literature, Political Science

Institutional DVD Price: $295

An in-depth portrait of one America's greatest and most notorious authors, Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All animates a unique literary figure through interviews, rare archival footage, and the gritty voice of Algren himself. Algren rose to prominence when he won the National Book Award in 1949 for The Man With The Golden Arm, which was later adapted into an Oscar nominated film starring Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. His book, A Walk on The Wild Side, inspired Lou Reed's eponymous hit. Despite his mainstream success and pop-culture bona fides, Algren's career was irreparably damaged by FBI and CIA surveillance during the Red Scare.

Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel and Algren scholars provide concise literary, social, and historic perspectives, for a six-decade long career which produced in five novels, two collections of short stories, countless articles and a public affair with Simone de Beauvoir. While his best work was produced over 50 years ago, his prescient focus on disenchantment with consumer culture was prophetic, and remains relevant today.

View the Nelson Algren Study Guide:
The Red Scare Post-War World and Nelson Algren (interview with Paul Buhle)


"Compelling, exciting, enlightening."- Chicago Tribune

"A sensitive portrayal of an important writer at mid-century in a uniquely American tale. The film is a musically, lyrically, and visually atmospheric journey through Algren's Chicago during the Depression, the Cold War, and the rise of corporate publishing. Serious and compelling."- Bettina Drew, Author of "Nelson Algren: A Life on the Wild Side" / Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Missouri