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FLASH OF GENIUS
USA: Universal Studios
UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda, Mitch Pileggi, Jake Abel, Daniel Roebuck, Aaron Abrams, Bill Smitrovich, Sergio Di Zio, Simon Reynolds, Tim Kelleher, Tatiana Maslany, Chuck Shamata, Grant Boyle, Andrew Gillies, London Angelis, Josette Halpert, Duane Murray
Director: Marc Abraham
USA: 119 mins
UK: 120 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language
UK Certificate: 12A contains one use of strong language
USA Release Date: 3 October 2008
UK Release Date: 20 March 2009 (Limited Release)
"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." - Nikola Tesla, Austrian inventor of the radio
Throughout modern history, brilliant inventors without the resources to protect their patents have been shoved aside. Antonio Meucci: telephone. Jacob Davis: blue jeans. Nikola Tesla: radio. Hans Lippershey: telescope. All were men whose inventions were patented by others with names much more familiar:
Alexander Graham Bell. Levi Strauss. Guglielmo Marconi. Galileo Galilei.
Based on the true story of university professor and part time inventor Robert Kearns' (Greg Kinnear - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) decades-long battle with the US automobile industry, FLASH OF GENIUS tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win.
The Kearns were a typical 1960s Detroit family, trying to live their version of the American Dream. Local college professor Bob married schoolteacher Phyllis (Lauren Graham - BECAUSE I SAID SO) and, by their mid-thirties, had six kids who brought them a hectic but satisfying Midwestern existence.
When inveterate tinkerer Bob invents the intermittent windshield wiper - a device that would eventually be used by every car in the world. Bob is not only proud and thrilled, but the Kearns think they have struck gold. Working with family friend Gil Previck (Dermot Mulroney - ZODIAC), they develop the revolutionary product and take it to market. But their aspirations are dashed after the automotive giants who embraced Bob's device unceremoniously take his creation and shun the man who imagined it.
Ignored, threatened and then buried in years of litigation, Bob is haunted by what was done to his family and their future. He turns to attorneys, including Gregory Lawson (Alan Alda -THE AVIATOR), to help him fight the seemingly impossible battle...but their approach and willingness to settle leaves Bob with the realization he alone must pursue the justice he needs. He becomes a man obsessed. His conviction is simple: his life's work - or for that matter, anyone's work - should be acknowledged by those who stand to benefit. And while paying the toll for refusing to compromise his dignity, this everyday David will try the unthinkable: to bring Goliath to his knees.
Veteran producer Marc Abraham (SPY GAME, CHILDREN OF MEN, DAWN OF THE DEAD) makes his directorial debut with FLASH OF GENIUS, directing from a screenplay by Philip Railsback (THE STARS FELL ON HENRIETTA) that is based on John Seabrook's The New Yorker article of the same name.