Celebrating local cinema

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Published: Nov 02 2014, 01:01:am

Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Actually, that 1995 article comes with a few caveats. Although I like to believe that it includes "every feature film shot in Vancouver between 1925 and 1995," it's always possible to miss something. This Reeling Back restoration has been edited to include additional information that I've learned since the original publication.

     When the late Chuck Davis asked me to update my 1975 article on feature filmmaking for the second edition of his urban encyclopedia, The Greater Vancouver Book, our city had become a major film production centre. With a significantly larger number of pictures to deal with, I decided to organize the material as if I were programming a series of film festival packages, each keyed to a different kind of movie.

    The result was an article that included some 212 titles organized into 20 lists. That provided the basis for Reeling Back's new 20-part series. As in the earlier Vancouver Book, Davis's focus was specifically on the city, so the finished piece excludes those B.C. features not filmed in whole or in part in the Metro Vancouver area.

    I plan to post Part 1 (the Introduction and list of Vancouver Feature Film Firsts) on Thursday, November 6. Thereafter, they will appear at least once a week until the series is complete.
    Returning visitors can also expect to find a new posting to Reeling Back at least every second day. My ten most recent were:

SPLASH — This year's Hallowe'en offering featured Daryl Hannah costumed in a fish tail. Director Ron Howard's 1984 fantasy was also the first film to pair Canadian comic John Candy with Tom Hanks. (Posted October 31)    

FRITZ THE CAT — Underground comix icon Robert Crumb was not in agreement with adult animation innovator Ralph Bakshi on his portrayal of the 1960s' most famous feline. The 1972 film is still remembered as Hollywood's first X-rated cartoon. (Posted October 29)    

GHOSTBUSTERS — In the run-up to Hallowe'en, it seemed only right to recall director Ivan Reitman's contribution to mock-scary cinema, the comedy hit of 1984 and the subject of persistent rumours regarding a 2015 reboot. (Posted October 27)    

POCAHONTAS — in 1995, the Disney corporation added a Native American to its cartoon studio's stable of singing princesses with this politically-correct take on 17th-century English colonists and their meeting with First Nations in Virginia. (Posted October 25)
RUNAWAY — Novelist-turn-director Michael Crichton set up his cameras in Vancouver to shoot this 1984 techno-thriller, the story of an acrophobic future cop pitted against a mad scientist turning domestic robots into killing machines. (Posted October 23)

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS — Writer-director Woody Allen's 1986 domestic comedy featured a fine supporting performance from Hollywood princess Carrie Fisher, an author and screenwriter who, like Allen, has mined her own life for dramatic inspiration. (Posted October 21)

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME — Never once during my 1979 interview with international producer Harry Alan Towers did we discuss this Canadian-made science-fiction feature, inspired by, but hardly true to, the novel by H.G. Wells. (Both posted October 19)

HEARTACHES — Margot Kidder gave a bravura performance in director Don Shebib's 1981 comedy, a feature that received criminally shoddy distribution in the dying days of Canada's "tax-shelter" movie boom. (Posted October 17)

BIG — When she turned to directing in the mid-1980s, actress Penny Marshall became an inspiration to all creative women in the Hollywood system. Tom Hanks starred in her boxoffice hit from 1988. (Posted October 15)

1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE — Director Ridley Scott suffered a rare career setback in 1992 when audiences showed little interest in his expensive retelling of the story of the Italian mariner historians once credited with the "discovery" of America. (Posted October 13)