Harold & Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)

Comments Off on Harold & Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015) 10 October 2017

Harold & lillian

Studio: Kino

Theatrical Release: November 15, 2015

Blu Ray Release: October 3, 2017

Director: Daniel Raim

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

In a time where most Hollywood marriages barely last five years, the story about Harold and Lillian Michelson is actually quite captivating and inspirational. Kino has put out some pretty decent documentaries in the past such as Obit. and Lucha Mexico and Harold & Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story is no exception. For fans of film making and for those looking for a sweet love story about a 60 year marriage, this documentary is one to seek out. 

Harold and Lillian Michelson have worked on movies for over 50 years and yet went mostly uncredited for their work. Harold was a storyboard artist and Lillian was a film researcher who worked and eventually ran a library that was located on a few studio lots. The sarcastic but sweet Harold got his big break on The Ten Commandments and soon really hit his stride when he was picked by Alfred Hitchcock personally to create the storyboards for The Birds. Lillian got her big break with Rosemary’s Baby, working with Roman Polanski and digging up research on the occult and witchcraft. Thanks to her start on that film it eventually lead to her involvement with Fiddler on the Roof

While I loved hearing their stories about Hollywood and the films they worked on (Harold discussing his idea for coming up with the iconic shot from The Graduate was really neat to hear) including interviews with Danny DeVito and Mel Brooks, it’s their actual struggles in their marriage that is the main structure of this documentary. Harold, coming from a wealthy Jewish family, fell in love with the younger and much poorer Lillian who was an orphan without any family ties. Not caring what his disapproving family thought, Harold married Lillian and the couple had three boys, one of which was autistic. In an interview with Lillian she discusses how Dustin Hoffman asked if he could study their son for his role on Rain Man to which she said no. In the mid 70’s Harold was accidentally crushed when an entire set fell on him, crushing his leg and leaving him immobile for 18 months. Not wanting to work and always in pain, he resorted to drinking which almost tore apart this ideal marriage. It’s these stories that I found fascinating just as much as the stories regarding Hollywood. The fact that this sweet couple who worked side by side with one another and shared a certain love for so many years is very sweet and brought a smile to my face form time to time as I watched this 94 minute doc. 

Kino’s blu ray release looks very nice with an option to view the film in both 2.0 and 5.1 surround sound. The documentary has numerous interviews from past and present with many home videos and behind the scenes footage from other films that some of the source footage may look a bit beat up. I find judging a transfer of a documentary to be very difficult. It looks and sounds just fine, thank you Kino. 

Kino also offers up a good amount of special features, one of which is a small booklet inside the blu ray package of an interview with the film’s director, Daniel Raim. As for the special features, there are several deleted scenes, some of which I wish were in the film as Harold discusses working on Star Trek The Motion Picture, The Hunt For Red October, and Throw Momma From the Train. There is a 3 episode series called Lillian’s Life Lesson’s, a seminar about camera angle projection, a short film about Harold storyboarding The Graduate, and finally the trailer for the film. 

For sure, film lovers will enjoy Harold & Lillian. But I cannot imagine anyone disliking this little love story about a Hollywood couple who worked together on some of the greatest films in movie history. 

Movie and Blu Ray Rating: ★★★★☆  







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