Almanac

Arts & Entertainment - April 27, 2011

Hollywood cinema artists in spotlight

Free screening of documentary about six men who mattered in making of classic films

by Renee Batti

Six cinema artists who helped create 400 Hollywood films — including classics such as "North by Northwest," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Ten Commandments," and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" — take center stage in the documentary, "Something's Gonna Live," which will be screened at 7p.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Menlo-Atherton High School Performing Arts Center.

The filmmaker, Daniel Raim, will be on hand to answer questions afterward.

The event, presented by the Menlo Park Library, is free, but reservations are required.

Mr. Raim was nominated for an Oscar for his 2001 documentary, "The Man on Lincoln's Nose." That film spotlighted the life and work of Mr. Raim's former film school teacher, Robert F. Boyle, one of iconic film director Alfred Hitchcock's most successful production designers.

Mr. Boyle, whose credits as an art director include Hitchcock's "The Birds" and "North by Northwest," is one of the six cinema artists featured in "Something's Gonna Live."

Also spotlighted are art directors Henry Bumstead ("To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Sting") and Albert Nozaki ("The War of the Worlds," "The Ten Commandments"); storyboard artist Harold Michelson ("The Graduate," "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"); and cinematographers Haskell Wexler ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "Medium Cool") and Conrad Hall ("In Cold Blood," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid").

The film has received high marks from critics, including Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times, for its moving portrayal of the aging men, who reflect on their lives and work in Hollywood. Ten years in the making, it weaves together vintage footage, snapshots, sketches and interviews with the film artists.

In the director's statement on the film's website, Mr. Raim says the film "gives voice to the hopes and dreams of these filmmakers, at the same time addressing fundamental issues artists face in today's film industry."

The film's story inspires admiration not only for the men's work, but also for the energy and commitment to their work they retained largely until the end of their lives. Five of them have died since their interviews — one, Robert Boyle, died last year at age 100, still teaching at the American Film Institute, where Mr. Raim studied. Haskell Wexler continues to make films at age 88, Mr. Raim says.

The event will begin with live jazz by the Jym Marks Quartet.

Free wheelchair-accessible van service is available for Menlo Park seniors and people with disabilities.

To reserve a spot at the event or for van service, call 330-2512, or email rlroth@menlopark.org.

Go to SomethingsGonnaLive.com for more information about the film.

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