Tuesday, May 23, 2017

There Are Nice People in Hollywood

Seriously, there are.   I actually know some of them.   And you can also add Harold and Lillian Michelson to the list of true golden people in Tinseltown.  

Once again, I go to the movies and discover a documentary that is infinitely more interesting and uplifting than 90 percent of the non-documentary crap released on a weekly basis.   The story of Harold and Lillian is a simple, yet enormously gratifying one.  Here's two people who met, fell in love, got married, and moved to Hollywood in the mid 20th century.   Both somehow wind up with plum careers in the picture business.   And they are hard workers for the rest of their lives.

Harold has a penchant for drawing so he becomes a storyboard artist for a slew of movies you've seen from "West Side Story" to "The Birds."   He soon angles into the position of Production Designer and worked with all of the top directors from Billy Wilder to Robert Wise to Alfred Hitchcock.

Meanwhile, besides raising three kids, Lillian literally stumbles into the world of film research---one of those folks who brings the level of authenticity to any movie.   Before long, her library is one of the most sought-after services in Hollywood and she, too, works for the cream of the crop in Hollywood.   One of the friends they make is Danny DeVito who also is the executive producer of this documentary and it comes off as a labor of love.

There are no nasty stories here about Harold and Lillian.   They work hard.   They love hard.   And, unlike some folks in Hollywood, they are grateful for the opportunity.   Harold's been gone for about ten years, but Lillian is still with us. She lives out in Woodland Hills at the Motion Picture Retirement Home and that, in itself, would be a fabulous documentary to see.  Luckily, Lillian is still as quick as a whip and the tales she spins are magical.  Above it all, you can really feel the love she and Harold had for each other.   That alone makes this a worthwhile time in front of a big screen.

The thought comes across from some of the talking heads that Lillian is long overdue for special recognition from the Oscars and perhaps this film is designed to spearhead that campaign.   I'm sure that, if it happens, her acceptance speech will include some loving words for the late Harold.   Because that's what these two were all about.

LEN'S RATING:  Three-and-a-half stars.

Dinner last night:  Sandwich.

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