July 2, 2009 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

The documentary film about the renowned photojournalist Eddie Adams, "An Unlikey Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story", is screening through July . Showtimes and information here.

Concurrently, and special exhibition of 16 of Adams' photographs is on view at the Denver Press Club, call 303-571-5260 for information. The exhibition is sponsored by Monroe Gallery of Photography, representative of the estate.

The Denver Post has this review in today's edition:

Through the lens, he captured the sublime and the horrific
"An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story"
By Lisa KennedyDenver Post Film Critic

It makes elegant sense: At the end of "An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story," it is the photos that continue to exert tremendous power.

As chock-full of insights — from Peter Jennings, Peter Arnett, Gordon Parks among others — it is the famed war photojournalist's works that still create space to be startled, to be rewired.
The late Susan Sontag wrote in her extended essay on war photography "Regarding the Pain of Others," that "when it comes to memory, the photograph has the deeper bite."
When one watches "An Unlikely Weapon," directed by Susan Morgan Cooper, it is easy to concur.

Adams' photos, often in black-and-white, have a stronger hold on us than other modes of representation that are truer to how we physically perceive the world.
Time and again, Adams' shots trump video images of the same situations. A pan of the faces of Vietnamese "boat people" doesn't stir the woeful information of Adams' photos of children and parents hunkered down in boats refused entry into Thailand.

Adams called that series "The Boat of No Smiles." And it compelled Congress to grant entry to 250,000 Vietnamese refugees. "It was the only good thing I did in my life, but I'm not a good guy," Adams said.

His declaration is remarkable in part because nine years before he jumped onto that drifting boat, he shot one of the most famous photographs of all time.

In 1968, in Saigon, Gen. Nguyen Nygoc Loan marched a Viet Cong prisoner into the street, put his pistol to the man's head and pulled the trigger. Adams took one frame, 1/500th of a second, to record that man's death.
The photo won the Pulitzer Prize. It appears in the documentary in disparate quarters.
It's used in agit-prop cartoons. A movie clip shows it looming over Woody Allen in "Stardust Memories," a symbol of the character's dark moods.

Bad boy rocker Dave Navarro shows off a mural of it in his apartment. Adams' son August is terrifically thoughtful on just how strange a choice this is.

Indeed, the documentary makes a smart argument about the burden of that shot on the executioner and on Adams.

The photograph was credited with changing hearts and minds back home. It is as indelible an image of warfare as Robert Capa's photo of a militiaman during the Spanish Civil War. Or closer to home: Adams' Associated Press colleague Nick Út's 1972 photo of 9-year-old Kim Phuc running naked after a napalm attack.

Now a human rights activist, Kim Phuc talks in the film about that photo's power in helping her "work for peace."

Yet, says Adams of his own acclaimed photo, "When I see the picture, I wasn't impressed. And I'm still not impressed."
Wearing a black fedora, walking the streets of New York City, Adams is a short-on-bull interviewee.

"An Unlikely Weapon" also covers well Adams' powerful, later work with performers (Louis Armstrong and Clint Eastwood) and other luminaries (Bill and Hillary Clinton).
In 2004, Adams died from complications from ALS.

Fortunately for us, Morgan got some quality time with Adams, and we get a provocative dose of the photographer's deep drive and perhaps deeper ambivalence about his craft.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of folk to attest to Adams' gifts.

And there is another lasting legacy, the Eddie Adams Workshop. The annual four-day gathering of the aspiring and the accomplished surely makes for another great thing the not-so "good guy" did.

Tonight, the director will be on hand for screening and Q&A, hosted by the Denver Press Club, at the Starz FilmCenter on the Auraria campus. The doc opens Friday for a full run.
Film critic Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567 or lkennedy@denverpost.com; also on blogs.denverpostcom/madmoviegoer

Not rated 1 hour, 25 minutes. Directed by Susan Morgan Cooper; written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; photography by Isaac Hagy; narrated by Kiefer Sutherland; featuring Eddie Adams, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Gordon Parks, Bill Eppridge, President Bill Clinton, David Hume Kennerly, Rod Steiger, Kim Phuc, Morley Safer, Nick Ut, Bob Schieffer, Peter Arnett, Clay Patrick McBride and Kerry Kennedy, among others. Opens today at the Starz FilmCenter