Perusing a photo of his father in a boat on his honeymoon, smile wide and happy, in his documentary Deconstructing Dad, noted film editor and director Stan Warnow says ruefully, I never saw him this way. Filling in the Freudian gap might be reason enough to make this film, but there’s also the fact that dad, Raymond Scott, was famous. Really? Who was he? You might well ask. In this film’s informative and entertaining trajectory, a workaholic emerges behind the made up name, the nose job, and the trophy wife: A genius in the entertainment field, you could say, who as a dad was M. I. A.
Limning this history, the documentary is much in the genre of Nathaniel Kahn’s My Architect, about his elusive dad Louis I. Kahn, but it is reminiscent too of Alan Berliner’s fine Nobody’s Business, about a father who disappears in history. Despite his self-invention, Raymond Scott, who died in 1994, preferred to stay in the shadows, even in publicity shots of his band.
As many in the music industry, John Williams, Hal Willner, Mark Mothersbaugh, and DJ Spooky among them, weigh in on his achievements, Stan Warnow, as filmmaker and narrator, tells a loving, resonant story of an American original, ending with the wish that his father could have seen this film.