Wednesday, April 29, 2015
By MICHAEL WALSH
A presence in cyberspace since October 2013, Reeling Back has four boxes on its Home page. The one that's labelled "Local News" is where visitors will find specifically Canadian content.
Click on the words Local News in the menu line at the top of this page, and an index to that specialty content will open, a list of links divided into four groups: BC Film History; Made in B.C.; Made in Canada; and Vancouver Memories.
To date, the archive contains 30 feature film titles that fit into the Made in B.C. category, with an additional 43 titles Made in Canada, each one a link to the review that I wrote at the time of the film's release.
The 18 current links in the BC Film History list connect to a series of articles originally created for publication in the two editions of an urban almanac called The Vancouver Book. They have been restored (with additional information) and there are more to come. The smallest section, Vancouver Memories, contains material about film-related issues rather than film reviews.
As always, site visitors are invited to explore the growing number of items in all of its indexes. There are three made-in-Canada features to be found among the the ten most recent additions to the Reeling Back archive:
UPS AND DOWNS — Working on location in a Vancouver Island private boarding school with a cast of teen actors making their screen debuts, Canadian motion-picture and television pioneer Paul Almond produced this 1981 teacher-approved coming-of-age comedy. (Posted April 26)
YENTL — Actress and singer Barbra Streisand was already a superstar when she made her debut as a director. She made movie history with this 1983 musical adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy, putting a fine feminist spin on the period tale. (Posted April 24)
THE SECRET OF THE SWORD — A feature-film pilot for the Saturday morning television cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power, this 1985 spin-off from the He-Man - Masters of the Universe show featured the voice-acting talents of the iconic Alan Oppenheimer. (Posted April 23)
KING LEAR — The lesser of the two motion-picture adaptations of Shakespeare's royal tragedy released to theatres in 1971, director Peter Brook's severely trimmed version starred Paul Scofield in the title role. (Posted April 23)
LION OF THE DESERT — An ambitious attempt to offer Western audiences a slice of Middle Eastern history sympathetic to Islam, director Moustapha Akkad's 1981 epic cast Anthony Quinn as the Bedouin teacher-turned-warrior who led the resistance to the Italian colonization of Libya. (Posted April 21)
BEAR ISLAND — A late entry in the cycle of all-star high-adventure films, director Don Sharp's 1980 adaptation of the Alastair MacLean novel was an Anglo-Canadian co-production filmed in northern B.C. The cast included Canadians Donald Sutherland, Barbara Parkins and Lawrence Dane. (Posted April 19)
OUT OF AFRICA — Based on Danish author Isak Dinesen's memoir, director Sydney Pollack's lush 1985 romance — a best-picture Oscar winner — brought together Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in a tale that unfolds beneath Kenyan skies. (Posted April 17)
THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER — Remembered as one of Hollywood's biggest box office bombs, director William Fraker's 1981 return to the thrilling days of yesteryear etched the unlikely name of Klinton Spilsbury in the annals of feature film trivia. (Posted April 15)
ISHTAR — Synonymous with cinematic disaster, writer-director Elaine May's 1987 homage to the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby cycle of road pictures was not well received. Its stars were the charm-challenged Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. (Posted April 14)
THE TERRY FOX STORY — Based on the life of the one-legged runner whose "Marathon of Hope" touched the nation, this 1990 tribute feature turned his extraordinary achievement into a standard screen tearjerker. (Posted April 12)