Bert Stern loved beautiful women. So did his camera. Consequently, many beautiful women loved him, including Shannah Laumeister, his current girlfriend and director of “Bert Stern: Original Madman,” an effusive, sad, visually gorgeous, and illuminating portrait of the artist. If only Laumeister kept herself out of the picture a bit more, it might have been a masterpiece.
Though Bert Stern loved women, what really started him on his road to excess, and a kind of wisdom, was vodka. Smirnoff, of all things; he took a photo of a gentleman poised with a glass of it in the desert at dawn and it started a revolution in advertising and, incidentally, set the stage for the hit AMC series, “Mad Men.” For, as the title of the film says, Stern was the original mad man.