Tag: movies

Obit: Bill Carrick, wildlife photographer (1920-2002)

Bill Carrick, a Toronto-area naturalist and wildlife photographer who coaxed beavers, ducks, fish, geese, polar bears and other animals into acting naturally in front of the camera, has died after an accidental fall on the rural property he rented in northeastern Scarborough, Ont. along the Pickering town line. He was 81 years old. * William…

Lost in Hollywood: my cousin, the child actor

During a sightseeing visit to Los Angeles some years ago, I surprised myself by taking a cab to the Margaret Herrick Library at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills. I hadn’t seen the Getty Museum, the Hollywood studios and so many other sights, so why was I going to some musty…

Obit: Movie pioneer Arthur Cohen (1880-1975)

Arthur Cohen, the Canadian movie industry pioneer, was a leader of Toronto’s Jewish community and a philanthropist. He died of a heart attack at the age of 94, the Canadian Jewish News reported on March 7, 1975. Cohen was the son of Magistrate Jacob Cohen and Lena Jacobs Cohen. He attended Jarvis Collegiate, from which…

A compendium of Canadian Jews in the arts

Note: this compendium of Canadian Jews in the arts appeared in a special supplement of the Canadian Jewish News in 2005. * * * Jewish poets were composing lines and Jewish painters composing scenes long before Canada was founded; and, as evidenced in the Canadian Jewish New’s weekly Eye on Arts column, there is no…

The Producers generates squirms, laughs

It’s been more than 40 years since comedy writer Mel Brooks first conceived of the idea for what would become The Producers, the $10-million musical that opened December 11, 2003 at Toronto’s Canon Theatre, courtesy of real-life theatre producers Ed and David Mirvish. In town for the opening, Brooks appeared on stage at the show’s…

Conversations with Woody Allen

Woody Allen once famously quipped: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” Whether or not he achieves his wish, his name has already attained the poetic equivalent of immortality due to his extraordinary film career. Although the celebrated writer-director has often portrayed himself on screen…

Hester Street, still great after 35 years

It has been 35 years since Joan Micklin Silver’s film Hester Street first appeared on the silver screen. Although the slow-paced, 90-minute black-and-white drama is not as well known as Crossing Delancey, which Silver directed more than a decade later, I regard the earlier film as the more pure work of art. A minor classic,…

An encounter with David Cronenberg

Twenty years ago this summer (i.e., the summer of 1974) this reporter was a 20-year-old film student at York University, who had been lucky enough to find some meager employment as a pre-production assistant for a $180,000-budget feature film being shot in Montreal. The working title was Orgy of the Blood Parasites, the director was…

The Strange Case of Ben Hecht

Eighty years ago this summer, in June 1931, New York publisher Covici Friede announced that A Jew in Love, a new novel by Ben Hecht (1894-1964), had been banned in Canada and in bookstores in Boston and other American cities. Anyone who opened the book — the front page of which described the Jewish protagonist…

From plague to comedy: filmmaker Ric Bienstock

Toronto film producer-director Ric Bienstock says that she missed many comforts of home when she shlepped all over China, India and Egypt to make a series of three hour-long TV documentaries featuring Penn and Teller, a celebrated pair of stage magicians from Las Vegas. But the veteran filmmaker, whose previous works include an acclaimed documentary…