Movie Mondays ~ Monday, October 14, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, October 14, 2019

 

This blog may be coming a day late but I promise you I did get to see one movie this week. I just didn’t get to write about it until the wee hours of Tuesday morning…technically. True to form, I picked another documentary, and this one also has a tie to classic Hollywood which tends to be a topic I enjoy learning more about or discussing. As always, thank you for reading. ~ Chris K.

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 10/07/2019 – 10/13/2019

 *click on the photos to enlarge them

 

 

100. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story

Documentary, Biography (2015)
Lillian Michelson, Harold Michelson (archive), Bill Krohn, Mel Brooks, Danny DeVito, Francis Ford Coppolla

 

I stumbled over this movie on Netflix and just happened to click on the title out of curiosity. I did not recognize the combination of names Harold and Lillian, and honestly thought there could be a tie to the cult film Harold and Maude which I did enjoy, so that was what drew me. When I saw the subtitle — “A Hollywood Love Story” — that also attracted me to investigate further. Lo and behold, I come to find out as someone who feels like she’s fairly knowledgeable about movies that the people this film is about are behind some of my favorite movies and scenes of all all time, iconic imagery I always attributed to the directors only for decades and never knew who was the brainchild behind them. I had no idea there was a talented, creative art director behind the scenes and his clever wife who did everything she could to make certain that every uniform, every piece of furniture, every minute detail in the shot was accurate to the time, place and historical circumstance being represented. And that is who Harold and Lillian Michelson were. In their own special way, they were Hollywood.

This was a wonderful documentary especially for movie lovers like me, and those who have a particular penchant for classic films. For example, one special piece of knowledge that I gained from it was that one of my all-time favorite directors Mike Nichols was not necessarily responsible for coming up with some of the absolutely most famous scenes from THE GRADUATE (1967) but instead it was Harold. Scenes like the famous shot-under-Anne-Bancroft’s-leg scene of Benjamin talking to Mrs. Robinson who might be trying to seduce him. Or the scene where he is poolside and appears to be ready to dive in and what looks like the pool instead becomes a comfy spot besides Mrs. Robinson in bed.  Scenes such as these are what set apart the film from other films and give it a cool, unique look unlike other films then and since. And they were from the mind of Harold Michelson. I had no idea! That’s not to take away from the gifts of a talented director like Nichols. He did after all respect and listen to a creative innovator like Michelson who had a distinct vision as he went into each film. It does remind us that a movie is comprised of a team, not a leading man or woman or the lone director but instead a collective, and some of the members of that team can be so instrumental to the whole look, feel and tone of the picture. We can forget that sometimes.

I also appreciated learning about what it was like for a couple working together in an era where the studio system was starting to disappear and for a person like Lillian who was working behind the scenes mostly anonymously and only known to those who actually worked on the sets and not the rest of us out there who could appreciate her. We learn how she had to find a new path as the industry transitioned and her development of a film research library that went on to become such a treasure trove for some of the greatest directors of the modern era.

I really enjoyed this documentary. If you love movies, you will definitely love all that you learn and even if you are just a casual viewer of film, you may appreciate the love story behind it. The story shows us a unique love story, one built on so much more than attraction and lust but also much deeper bonds of mutual respect, admiration, respect and friendship. I will watch some of my all-time favorite films with a newfound appreciation and see these iconic images and details with new eyes.

Score: 88

 

HaroldAndLillian

 

 

GraduateBefore

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  1. Movie Mondays ~ Monday, October 21, 2019 | Chris Kuhn Author - […] to this review, I alluded to the similarity between this film and the last one I reviewed HAROLD AND …

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