On July 31 of this year I wrote about the Academy Museum. Almost 100 years in the making, this museum has been planned for a long time. The wait was worth it. It’s really worth seeing. I have felt for a long time that I could say more about it, so today is the day that I celebrate this not-so-humble addition to movie making.
It has definitely influenced Ruth and my lives. Before going to LA to see it, movie viewing at home was an occasional activity although we have watched more films since COVID entered our lives and changed the pattern of our evenings. If we had not gone to this museum, we probably wouldn’t have either known about or seen Real Women Have Curves, Searching for Bobby Fisher, and The Central Park Five. It helped to keep a list of films to see as we went through this museum.
There are 2 aspects of film-making that this new facility covers well that I especially liked. It deemphasized stars and really celebrated the contribution of technicians like cinematographers and editors to the film-making experience and was very good at explaining the development of this industry. I learned a lot about early movie-making here. It is probably the largest museum in the world devoted to a pastime we all enjoy, watching movies. Oh, it was fun to see the outrageous costume-like outfit that Cher wore to the Oscars, but it was more important to learn why Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar or certificate of achievement is not displayed along with the other Academy Awards.
I really enjoyed seeing the sled used in Citizen Kane and Dorothy’s red shoes used in the making of The Wizard of Oz. I hope that this museum continues to explore the magic of movie-making as opposed to the celebration of the finished product that the Academy Awards honor.
It is appropriate that this experience ended with an exploration of documentaries. We watched Norma Rae as the result of seeing it even though it’s not strictly a documentary. It’s based on a true life of the woman Sally Field plays, however.