This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from John of 501 Must-See Movies Project. Thanks for joining in on this, John! Let’s hear his thoughts on Tajna Nikole Tesle. 🙂
Tajna Nikole Tesle (1980) (The Secret Of Nikola Tesla)
Director: Krsto Papic
Starring: Petar Bozovic, Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Strother Martin, and Dennis Patrick
Writers: Ivo Bresan, Ivan Kusan, and Krsto Papic Co-Writers: John English, John Hughes
Plot Summary: (IMDB) Life and times of Nikola Tesla, famous scientist whose inventions were stolen, but whose greatest contribution to mankind remain a mystery to this day.
Tanja Nikole Tesle explores the life of Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla (Bozovic) from his immigration to the United States in 1884 to his death in 1943. The film primarily focuses on his competition with Thomas Edison (Patrick), collaboration with George Westinghouse (Martin), and JP Morgan’s (Welles) sabotage of Tesla’s plans for limitless worldwide free energy.
A week ago I had no idea who Nikola Tesla was nor his extensive contributions to science. Though I’m sure this film took some liberties in portraying his life, a lot of what I’ve read and researched suggests this film gives a pretty accurate portrayal of Tesla.
Petar Bozovic does a nice job in portraying Tesla. His character is both brilliant and intimidated by the likes of Thomas Edison and JP Morgan. I enjoyed his determination and sureness in asserting alternative current (AC) as a superior way of transmitting electricity compared to Edison’s inferior direct current (DC) method. Bozovic balanced out Dennis Patrick, Strother Martin, and Orson Welles throughout the film.
JP Morgan speculates at the end of the film that if free energy were available to all, it would put someone like him out of business, and that was a major reason why he didn’t continue to finance Tesla’s research. Welles does a great job in portraying the concern Morgan had if this sort of technology became accessible to everyone and the effects it would have on his financial interests.
Tanja Nikole Tesle definitely lacks good audio and video quality. There were a number of times when the sound didn’t match up properly, and it had a low-budget look to it. That can be expected though, since this is more of a biographical film that seeks to inform rather than entertain. The opening and transition background music was more creepy than anything else, perhaps giving the film a more mysterious sci-fi-esque feel to it.
I can only speculate as to John Hughes’ involvement as a co-writer for Tanja Nikole Tesle. Since this film was made in Yugoslavia, he and John English may have been more involved in making this film accessible to an English-speaking audience.
Though lacking in cinematic quality, Tanja Nikole Tesle explores a much lesser-known scientist whose contributions have had a significant impact in a range of electrical-related fields. I won’t watch this one again, however, I’m glad I know a little bit more about Nikola Tesla. The movie is available on YouTube, I watched it on Netflix. It’s one I would recommend if you want to know more about Tesla.
My Rating: 4/5 stars.