Monday, April 16, 2012

Movie Magic

Old Hollywood movies and their stars informed and inspired my childhood and young adulthood. Like a frayed ribbon, those memories reach right back, and it's still to some of those old movies, and their remarkable magic, that I turn to now, when the need arises.

TCM showed an excellent documentary series of the history of Hollywood: Moguls and Movie Stars. The first two episodes, especially, were so intriuging, detailing the early days of moving pictures in France and in America, and the personalities (Auguste and Louis Lumière, Thomas Edison) who made it all happen. The series is available on DVD.

How fortuitous that at the same time I was watching the series I'd recorded last fall, I went to see the National Theatre's Travelling Light (part of their excellent Live in HD series). No, I didn't fly to London for the occasion, I saw it at one of our cinemas here in Toronto.

This new play by Nicholas Wright was directed by Nicholas Hytner and was truly, as the Guardian put it, "A love letter to the movies." Motl Mendl (a fictional character), in his older years as a Hollywood mogul, reflects back on his start in an Eastern European stetl, when - with a camera, a girl, and an infuriatingly wonderful friend (Jacob, played by Anthony Sher), he pretty much invents the creative medium that is the motion picture. This of course comes at a cost, and the play on words in the title. This will be rebroadcast in cinemas around the world this cinema. It was moving and exhilarating so, if you like old movies, this is for you!

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