|Eva Marie Saint & Cary Grant give love a shot|
However, before we discuss Something’s Gonna Live, we should start at the beginning with The Man on Lincoln's Nose (TMoLN), Raim's 2000 Oscar-nominated Documentary, Short Subject. You know someone is special when the “worst” thing anybody can say about him is that “He has no ego.” That’s what veteran storyboard artist Harold Michelson affectionately says about his friend and colleague, veteran production designer Robert F. Boyle. This 40-minute documentary is as fond and upbeat as it is riveting. Boyle and his comrades share their stories and techniques for building onscreen intrigue, including characterization and “the penultimate moment” versus the endless series of exhausting rock ’em-sock ’em action climaxes that too many films depend on nowadays. We meet Japanese-American art director Albert Nozaki, who was forced into the Manzanar internment camp for six months by the U.S. Government after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in one of the most shameful chapters of U.S. history. On a more positive note, Boyle and his friends also treat us movie mavens to sketches, collages, and footage of their decades of work, among them the original Thomas Crown Affair, Fiddler on the Roof, and of course, classic Alfred Hitchcock films such as Saboteur and my own all-time favorite, North by Northwest. Raim and company cleverly use storyboards and pictures to bring production designers’ work to life for us viewers.
If you’re gonna spend your time doing the best you can doing shit, then why do it? If you were to spend your time giving to future generations some of the benefits of your knowledge, maybe that’s a way of having a legacy. That’s a way of having a kind of morality so that Bob Boyle’s never gonna die, and I’m not gonna die, and something’s gonna live, and I think that’s a pretty valuable thing.
Amen to that!
Bob matter-of-factly muses,
“I think everybody’s here by accident. At any moment, anybody could get cancelled. Then there are all those things that we do to ourselves. In my case, I overindulged in almost everything. I smoked too much, I drank too much, I lived too long.”Nevertheless, onscreen, the trio’s increasing physical frailty doesn’t slow down their sharp minds. These men are just as witty, smart, and on the ball as any young hotshots. I especially liked Bummy’s quips about film sets that don’t look lived-in enough. No doubt their love of their professions kept them young in mind and spirit over the years—proof of the importance of spending your life doing what you truly love, if you’re lucky!
I must say the gents were pretty darn dashing, too, wearing suits and ties on the sets of The Birds and North by Northwest. There’s a particularly nice photo of Bob, Harold, and visual effects whiz Albert Whitlock, no slouch in the dashing department either. As a Hitchcock fan, I especially enjoyed these particular anecdotes, including Bob’s theory that if Hitchcock was alive and making movies today, he’d happily use the current digital technology as long as it truly served the story’s purposes. Bob and Harold’s return to Bodega Bay after 37 years was one of the film’s highlights. Bob, Bummy, and Al joke about being “three old farts,” three old bastards” and “three tottering people,” but Bob got it right when he described them all as “three old soldiers.”
|Robert F. Boyle discusses working with rare bird Hitchcock|
SGL is like a fond, wistful, yet buoyant time machine voyage, deserving a place on the must-see list of anyone who loves movies inside and out. It’s a thoroughly entertaining yet heartfelt documentary with much to say about the art, heart, and soul of filmmaking, as well as the duration of friendships, the passage of time, the team effort required in such endeavors, and the legacies that all talented people inevitably leave to enrich generations of creative artists to come. I, for one, am pulling for SGL to achieve the widespread success it deserves!
Both Something's Gonna Live and The Man on Lincoln's Nose are now available on DVD through Adama Films, so if you love filmmaking, you owe it to yourself to add it to your film collection! (http://www.lincolnsnose.com/) (http://somethingsgonnalive.com/ )