The Painter and the Thief
On the Record
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Harold and Lillian is so loving, personal, and largely inessential (aside from shining a light on some lesser-praised filmmakers), it plays more like a really great home video than an actual movie. Still, it is nice to sit with these charming people for a bit as the tell amazing Hollywood stories.
Lovely documentary about Harold and Lillian Michaelson. You may not know them but you will be surprised at how much of their work you do know.
This is mandatory for any true movie buff. The true back story of hollywood where you get to see the puppet strings and who's really controlling the story. It's fabulous. You just wish you had known them. It will be put a smile on your face.
Fascinating look into a different part of film making and the beautiful people behind it.
What a wonderfully delightful movie about a brilliantly artistic couple the likes we'll never see again. I'm overjoyed to have been able to meet them through this movie.
A STORYBOARD ROMANCE - My Review of HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (3 Stars)
Unsung heroes in the film business don't get any more unsung than Harold and Lillian MIchelson, but this documentary by Academy Award nominated director, Daniel Raim should go a long way towards giving this couple their due. It's not a great film, not particularly delving very deep, a bit overlong, but I'm thrilled there's a record of the pair.
Harold was a Storyboard Artist turned Production Designer who worked on such legendary films as THE BIRDS and THE GRADUATE, often uncredited. As such, he helped establish some of the most iconic shots in cinema history. Love that scene where Dustin Hoffman enters the room and is seen through Anne Bancroft's bent leg? Thank Harold for that indelible image. Lillian ran a research library which bounced from studio to studio over the years, providing in-depth details for filmmakers long before the internet rendered her services obsolete. Married for over 60 years, the couple made a great pair who literally were the backbone of the industry.
Sure, oftentimes directors have a strong hand in what Storyboard Artists draw, but Harold proved hugely influential to the final outcomes of so many films. A stunning comparison of his storyboards with images from WINTER KILLS, for example, proves that behind every great director, apparently sat Harold Michelson. Through archival interviews, Raim shows us a kind, intensely knowledgable Harold who knew the nuts and bolts of filmmaking better than most directors.
Even more touching is his love for Lillian. Moving out to California ahead of her, when they barely knew each other, Harold would write her very sweet, and sometimes very carnal love letters. Taking a huge risk, Lillian, raised in orphanages and not Harold's families' "pick" as a wife for him, moved out to LA to join him, hardly able to even remember what he looked like. Remember, this is way before selfies and FaceTime would have solved that problem.
For her part, Lillian researched movies the old fashioned way. She would meet with some pretty shady characters to get the details just right for those who used her services. Drug dealers and mob bosses weren't off limits to her. My favorite anecdote involved her hanging out in front of Canter's Deli to interview elderly Russian women in order to find out what their underwear looked like. In any other circumstance, she would have been labeled a "perv", but she was researching looks for the daughters in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and 19th Century Russia failed to record images of women in their bloomers. Take that, Google!
Any film lover will appreciate this documentary, but in the spirit of criticism, I put this under the category of "We all laughed and had a good time". In other words, there's no mud slung and the subjects don't get too candid about their personal lives. It's almost touching how Lillian finds dignity in NOT revealing too much. It reminded me of the documentary GOOD OL' FREDA, wherein the Beatles' secretary also refused to dish too much dirt. It almost forces you to recalibrate your thought process from too many Kardashians and allow a "nice" story to unfold. If cinema is important to you, there could be worse ways to spend your time than this good-natured time capsule.
This is a terrific documentary. A piece of film history and a great love story all in one. A must for film buffs.
interesting story of a behind the scene couple that involved in numerous great work
What a better way to watch a love story then with your love and here's what we learned. This movie works on many levels. It's a fantastic journey. Also, it's a deep and thorough and well-explained look into how movies are made by people who you never think about. Harold and Lillian Michelson, the husband and wife duo explain how to have a strong Hollywood marriage. Harold was a story board artist and dabbled in production design. Lillian was a film researcher. Together they did things few nobody knew about until this wonderful documentary. Well worth the time. It flies by and will get you to shed a tear or two. The best love story I've seen in a long time. Wife: 9.1/Husband: 10.0... Final Score: 9.6/10
Saw this gem of a movie at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival. It tells the story of 2 artists at the top of their game both professionally and personally. Because their jobs were behind the camera, the story of their amazing contributions to countless classic films may have been lost forever. Thankfully, this wonderful documentary stands as testament to two enormously talented people.