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Doc NYC Review: ‘Maddman: The Steve Madden Story’ is a Lively Look at the Man Behind the Shoe

Functioning in the mode of a lifestyle documentary like Dogtown and Z-Boys, Ben Patterson’s Maddman: The Steve Madden Story tells the sweeping take the shoe impresario, a self-made man who started from the bottom as a shoe salesman, worked his way to the top, fell from grace, and came back leading his Long Island City-based design house. It’s a lively, energetic story that only occasionally veers into that documentary gray area called Branded Content. In the opening random shoppers are asked, “What do you know about Steve Madden?,” and evidently nobody knows much about the man.

Told through interviews with Madden, his brother John, his ex-wife Wendy, and several key employees, many from the old days relay the story of how a fashion brand with one SoHo store grew into a billion dollar business. After a modest success with his signature Marilyn shoe, his company goes public via

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