Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#2,324. Something's Gonna Live (2010)

Directed By: Daniel Raim

Starring: Robert F. Boyle, Henry Bumstead, Conrad L. Hall

Tag line: "Conversations with Six Great Hollywood Cinema Artists"

Trivia: This movie premiered in August 2010 at the Cinema Village in New York City

A series of shorter interviews pieced together to make a feature-length film, director Daniel Raim’s Something’s Gonna Live is a love letter to classic Hollywood, reuniting six artists who, during their decades-long collaborations within the studio system, helped turn out some of the greatest motion pictures ever made.

It was in 1997 that Daniel Raim first met Robert F. Boyle (North by Northwest, Cape Fear, Fiddler on the Roof), a former Hollywood Art Director / Production Designer who, at that time, was teaching a class at the AFI Conservatory. Over the course of the next several years, Raim and his documentary crew followed Boyle around, tagging along as he toured the Paramount Studio lot with fellow Art Directors Albert Nozaki (The Ten Commandments, 1953’s War of the Worlds) and Henry Bumstead (Vertigo, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting). All three were hired by Paramount in the early ‘30s, and spent decades working side-by-side (Nozaki, a Japanese-American, was sent to an internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and for years lived in the Midwest, only to return to Paramount and his old buddies once the war ended).

In addition, Something’s Gonna Live joined Boyle and Storyboard Artist Harold Michelson (Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, The Graduate) as they paid a visit to the California locations where Alfred Hitchcock shot his classic horror film The Birds (Boyle handled that movie’s Production Design, while Michelson drew hundreds of storyboards for Hitchcock). In the remaining two segments, Boyle shoots the breeze with a pair of noted cinematographers: Haskell Wexler (In the Heat of the Night, Medium Cool) and Conrad Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty, Road to Perdition). Boyle and Hall even attend a screening of 1967’s In Cold Blood, on which they collaborated.

With plenty of stories flying around, not to mention the odd movie clip thrown in from time to time, Something’s Gonna Live pays tribute to the Hollywood of yesteryear, which each of its six featured artists refer to as the “good old days”, before computers took special effects to a whole new level. That’s not to say these men are against the modern methods of filmmaking; Boyle and Michelson agree that Alfred Hitchcock would have loved computer graphics (he was always looking for fresh and exciting ways to tell stories). But all of those interviewed also talk of the relationships that developed during their time together, something they feel is missing from Hollywood nowadays, and for them, camaraderie was what it was all about.

Yet what makes Raim’s film so invaluable is the fact it’s a living, breathing history of a bygone era, told by people who were there. All six of these men are no longer with us (Boyle, Nozaki, Bumstead, Michelson and Hall died before this film was released, whereas Haskell Wexler passed on back in 2015), and that alone makes this motion picture one that should be treasured. Whether you love movies or are interested in learning more about the old studio system, Something’s Gonna Live is a documentary you’re sure to enjoy.

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