Documentary Review -Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)

One of the reasons I love books and films are for the stories they tell. But I’m not just a huge fan of fictional stories. I’m also fascinated by real people’s individual stories; their personal experiences, what makes them tick etc. This is why when I heard about Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story I was interested in watching it. Then of course, I read several positive reviews about this ordinary couple who worked in an extraordinary industry and knew I had to see it. Harold and Lillian Michelson were a behind the scenes Hollywood institution. Despite all of my interest and research into film history, I had never heard of them before.

ABOUT Harold and Lillian

The Michelson’s moved to Hollywood from Florida in 1947. Harold was a self-taught artist who eventually found a job working in the movie industry as a Storyboard Artist. He slowly worked his way up to become an Production Designer. Lillian (like myself) loved to read. She used it as away of escaping a busy and demanding life as a wife and mother. This interest led her to become a volunteer for a film studio as a researcher making sure that the movies were as historically and otherwise accurate as possible. Along the way she became the owner and manager of a huge collection of books and other source materials.

Their two passions dovetailed nicely producing a couple who was not only well matched personally but also professionally. They strengthened each other. Together they worked on many famous and popular pictures over the course of fifty years, such as The Ten Commandments, The Graduate, The Birds, Fiddler on the Roof, and Scarface among others.

This documentary is also a look at their personal relationship, a marriage which lasted over sixty years. This is quite an accomplishment in a demanding industry which tends to end marriage rather than sustain it. Through interview, clippings and pictures, Harold and Lillian each get to tell their story in their own words, sharing their personal memories, triumphs and tragedies. For my full review please head over to The Silver Petticoat.


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