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TUPPERWARE! PRESS QUOTES
“The story of the 1950s Tupperware empire is told with wit and authority in this …documentary from Laurie Kahn-Leavitt.”
“Ms. Kahn-Leavitt deftly balances nostalgia, humor, and appreciation without being saccharine or patronizing the women who cast off their traditional roles and made new lives for themselves. Viewers who tune in will, like me, be in for a treat.”
“a compelling portrait of a peculiar American success story…TUPPERWARE! takes us on a fun, often funny ride through the optimism and opportunity of the 1950s. You’ll wish the Super 8 footage would just keep on rolling.”
“It is a tale of intrigue, invention, power, and money, which Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, writer, director and producer of the film, stumbled on by accident...It took two and a half years and more than 300 interviews to put all the pieces together.”
“Behind every burping bowl, there’s a story. But who knew Tupperware had such a rich history?…Until now, the Tupperware story was long forgotten, sealed as tight as one of the company’s trademark containers.”
“There’s a…PBS special on the cultural phenomenon of Tupperware parties narrated by Kathy Bates…Tupperware is finally getting the credit it deserves for coming up with the party at home selling concept. Post WWII, it was one of the only ways that women could make decent money on their own time.”
“TUPPERWARE. So uncool, it’s cool (proof: Reese Witherspoon loves the stuff). Narrated by Kathy Bates, this documentary charts Tupperware’s rise from small company to cultural phenomenon.”
“The hourlong program is a feast of kitschy archival footage and telling interviews with veteran “Tupperware ladies.” It’s also a revealing glimpse into the 1950s.”
“The new documentary reveals much more than plastic trivia as it tears down stereotypes of women in the 1950s...(Brownie) Wise led troops of women on the path of entrepreneurship, training them to host Tupperware parties in living rooms across postwar America during a time when women had few economic choices.
“(Kahn-Leavitt’s) cheerful yet nuanced documentary provides…a remarkably perceptive narrative on emerging American businesswomen in 1950s America. By becoming risk-taking entrepreneurs, they remade themselves and helped transform the commercial and social landscape around them.…(The film’s) tone is gracefully balanced and deftly edited. What could have been an exercise in kitschy nostalgia is instead a nimble overview of a burgeoning feminism as experienced by two gifted but eccentric individuals. There’s a provocative subtext that stays with you.
"Rating: *** Local filmmaker Laurie Kahn-Leavitt zips us back to the 1950s, when Massachusetts inventor Earl Tupper and go-getter Brownie Wise rallied a legion of housewives to sell the plastic containers that ruled the world....Through interviews with Tupperware ladies, amazing clips from company films and a heavy dose of vintage songs, Kahn-Leavitt evokes the country's postwar materialism and the opportunities Tupperware presented to thousands of working-class women."
“As seen in the loads of great-looking footage that Kahn-Leavitt has unearthed for TUPPERWARE!, the (home party) ritual is performed by a proselytizer who soft-sells nothing less than the American Dream.”
“Director Laurie Kahn-Leavitt has assembled a dazzling parade of rare kitschy 1950s footage. The viewer gets a glimpse at Tupperware Ladies' home movies, Tupperware Jubilee footage, ads and television excerpts. This footage is interwoven with stories told by Tupperware ladies who witnessed the company's early years.”
“A Trailblazer, Rediscovered. In the chauvinistic 1950s, when most women didn’t work or were relegated to menial jobs, Brownie Wise built Tupperware into a multimillion-dollar business. In TUPPERWARE!, a documentary that will appear on PBS this spring, Laurie Kahn-Leavitt assesses Wise’s marketing genius – and her shocking 1958 ouster.”
“Filmmakers have so delighted in debunking the idyllic myth of 1950s America that exposing the era’s seamier side has almost developed into its own genre…Now a new documentary, bereft of salaciousness but chock-full of drama, reveals the surprising truth behind a beloved 1950s trademark: Tupperware.”
“This astounding tale of grit, pluck and door-to-door determination blows the lid off the Tupperware myth, charting the stellar rise and tragic fall of marketing maven Brownie Wise. Keeping it fresh since 1954, the Tupperware tale is anything but stale.”
“This is the engrossing and oddly inspirational story of the famous “burping” plastic kitchenware invented by Earl Silas Tupper. But the heroine is Brownie Wise, a kind of Lucy Ricardo/June Cleaver role model who convinced women that they could get out of the house and earn an income. The slim glamorous Wise – she has been called ‘the smiling siren of styrene’—became the corporate face of the Tupperware empire. When her story takes an unexpected turn, it is surprisingly touching.”
“The documentary is hilarious…this is a must-see.”
“Some of the real-life characters interviewed are so entertaining they could appear alongside the Costanzas on a Seinfeld episode.”
“Tupperware! So uncool, it’s cool.”
“Brownie Wise and the Tao of Tupperware: the bowls that burp make for a surprisingly riveting documentary.”
“The seven years when Tupper and Wise collaborated were an amazingly productive brand-building time; they represent an intriguing slice of 1950s American life.”
“Laurie Kahn-Leavitt has discovered a rich and colorful history, elevating the story of the bowls that burped into a documentary work of art.”
“TUPPERWARE! ranks as must-see TV.”
“An amusing look behind-the-scenes of a distinctive American consumer product success story, TUPPERWARE! mixes fun archival materials and contemporary interviews”
“Kahn-Leavitt is never condescending to her subject; even the strangest, silliest old footage comes across with dignity. Tupperware – as strange as it sounds – changed lives, and this fine tribute is touching, inspiring, and not in the least plastic.”
“I think you've packed a lot of very subtle and important information into a very lean format--the history is there, the impact that sales had on women, the life stories. The object is more at the center of the story as a kind of pivot around which things swing (or bounce)--very effective. And the story of Earl and Brownie comes through very clearly.....You've managed to get the "corporate line" in without allowing it to dominate the story. This is a darker film than "Midwives Tale"! and certainly has many rich veins I could use in a class on women's history, business history, consumerism, and popular culture……You've told a very complex story with efficiency and depth. It's already on my classroom list!!”
“I think it's just about perfect.”
“This first-ever documentary of highly secretive Tupperware is a punchy, at times comical, and consistently well filmed story of the innovative methods, origins, and inherent contradictions of this extraordinarily successful enterprise. The film can serve as a provocative teaching tool for a variety of topics – channel strategy, leadership, organizational fit, harnessing distributed intelligence, dynamics of social coercion and the evolution of resilient and remarkably agile organizational design.”
“You found just the right balance between celebration of the women (including Brownie Wise), critical assessment of the company and the fifties, and humour. It was such fun to see what you did with the interviews, home movies, music, etc. Though the audience seemed to be a great mix of people, you drew everyone in.”
“I haven’t seen anything else that conveys so well what the 50s were like. There are many many levels to this film.”
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DoHistory PRESS QUOTES
“DoHistory has a lot of implications as a model project for the teaching of history and many other liberal arts disciplines.”
“The full-text transcriptions and original documents are invaluable aids to scholarship.”
“As a former museum anthropologist and educator and volunteer, my mind is reeling with the possibilities.”
Midwife's Tale Press Quotes
"This 'American Experience' special deals not with history writ large, but with the daily events in the last 27 years of one hardworking 18th and early 19th-century woman's life, chronicled by her in a series of notebooks, and brought to the world at large by an intrepid 20th century historian......[W]here else would we learn that, in his late 70s, Martha's husband, Ephraim, was committed to debtor's prison (where he spent 17 months) -- not because he failed to pay his own taxes, but because he was not assiduous enough in collecting them from others."
"This Tale sheds light on the poorly documented world of women, giving traditional history new dimensions and color."
"Best Historical Drama of 1997: local filmmakers Richard Rogers and Laurie Kahn-Leavitt's A Midwife's Tale, an inventive and experimental way to make the American past breathe life. Spielberg really should have taken a look before trying to do Amistad."
"'I really liked the project, and when I met with [Director] Dick [Rogers] we really hit it off,' [Director of Photography, Steven] Poster says. 'To me, it was very exciting to do this small, 16 mm film. I like having the opportunity to do good, quality films; it's real art.' [Peter] Stein was equally enamored of the project. 'This is one of the films I'm most proud to have worked on,' he says. 'It's a project filled with integrity.
"'A Midwife's Tale' is an intriguing study of efforts to reconstruct early American domestic life using diaries kept by a Maine woman from 1785 to 1812. The journals were left by Martha Ballard, a midwife who was an ancestor of Clara Barton."
" Director Richard P. Rogers endows the film with a timeless, universal quality by the beauty of the lighting and photography and elegance of the sound design. He and director of photography Peter Stein create images that seem transposed from paintings by Vermeer, Chardin, or Wyeth….
"[S]talwart Kaiulani Lee, who plays Ballard brings compelling gravity to the sometimes harsh, sometimes mundane events, which touch on still-hot issues of race, class, religion, and gender."
"As a whole it is a conscientious, often moving effort to flesh out the woman from the diary's cryptic, sometimes puzzling words and to carry us back into an America that labored under pioneering rigors."
"The film is anchored by actress Kaiulani Lee's subtle underplaying of the stoic-seeming Ballard. Lee is aided and abetted by Richard P. Rogers's skillful direction and a supporting ensemble cast that illuminates and enlivens a distant past."
"Kahn-Leavitt, a Watertown resident, has gotten fan mail and e-mail from all over the world and admits she didn't expect to change people's lives with this film."
"'I think Laurie (Kahn-Leavitt) has created for herself an extraordinary challenge....This is kind of Merchant-Ivory-plus.'"
"This American Experience video is everything one could hope for in a historical film. Laurie Kahn-Leavitt and Richard P. Rogers have put together a very classy production that does exactly what public history should do: it informs the public about how historians craft the stories of history at the same time as it informs us about life in a time and a place quite different from our own. The production bears witness to what can be accomplished when a skilled historian is matched with equally skilled filmmakers, designers, and actors.