Something’s Gonna Live (Daniel Raim, 2009): USA

Reviewed by Jackson Bishop. Viewed at the Mann’s Chinese Theater for the AFI Film Festival in Hollywood.

With Something’s Gonna Live, filmmaker Daniel Raim turns the camera on some of the men who have defined movies during their nearly 80-year careers.  Chief among the subjects in the film is production designer Robert Boyle, who has worked with the greats during his long career, most notable may be his many collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock.  While overly sentimental at times, and never really objective, the documentary provides a fascinating glimpse from the perspective of men who know movies inside and out and have aged with the medium itself.

The film opens with a shot of a cemetary, while a voice over from Boyle discusses the idea of legacy, of leaving something important behind when he’s gone, saying, “something’s going to live”.  The film then goes on to chronicle Boyle’s conversations with a few of his contemporaries, including Henry Bumstead, Conrad L. Hall, Harold Michelson, Albert Nozaki, and Haskell Wexler.

Throughout Boyle’s interactions with his friends and peers, many interesting concepts are examined.  One of the most fascinating of which was a discussion of how Hitchcock may have utilized digital effects while clips of The Birds are played.

The film clips utilized in the documentary are edited in with great skill and help to convey the ideas and themes behind the film.  There are moments when the clips and the conversations being had between the subjects compliment one another so well that it almost seems the clips were shot for this very documentary.

The film is rather one sided in its portrayal of a Hollywood that had its heyday in the old days of the Studio System, but this doesn’t take away from the fascinating concepts that the film presents.  Anyone with an interest in Hollywood or filmmaking in general will have something worth seeing here.

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