JHS highlights Jamestown movie clips
The Jamestown Historical Society’s “Jamestown and the Silver Screen” program has been a yearlong celebration of the history of filmmaking on Conanicut Island. The penultimate event of the series will take place on Friday, Nov. 4, in the Jamestown Philomenian Library meeting room.
The program will be a “Clips and Quips” evening in which clips from a number of Jamestown-related films will be shown, and commentary will be provided by people who were associated with the films in one way or another.
“We have eight movies, seven of which we’ll show clips for,” said Sue Maden of the historical society. “The final one is ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ which will come out in 2012.”
“Moonrise Kingdom” is the new Wes Anderson film shot in Jamestown and the surrounding areas earlier this year.
Commentary on the “Moonrise Kingdom” experience will be provided by Ras Lischio, who appears in the film. Part of the film was shot in Lischio’s unique home on the north end of the island, and the film company relocated him to another house during the shooting.
“It turns out he had a very good experience,” Maden said. “Everybody was very nice to him, and that doesn’t always happen when you give up your house.”
The program will begin with a clip from the 1943 film “Crash Dive.” The WWII submarine thriller starred Dana Andrews and Tyrone Power, and was filmed in the waters around Jamestown. According to Maden, the filmmakers were only supposed to be on the island for a few days, but bad weather kept them here for 10 days. Most of the film was shot in New London, Conn., but the waters around Jamestown were used for some nautical scenes.
“They mixed with the locals,” Maden said. “They drank with them. They played baseball with them. I think they stayed in the Bayview Hotel.”
Babs Porter will provide the commentary for the “Crash Dive” clip. As a child she asked her mother if she could invite Andrews and Power to dinner. Her mother said “yes,” never thinking that they would actually come. The stars surprised Porter’s family by saying “yes,” and the family used all of their ration coupons for the month on the meal for the Hollywood icons.
“Crash Dive” will also be shown in its entirety on Friday, Nov. 11, as a Veterans Day commemoration. The screening is sponsored by the VFW and the American Legion, and will take place at the Jamestown library.
Jamestown resident Barbara Luther wrote the original story on which the 1963 film “A Ticklish Affair” was based. Luther had written a story called “Moonwalk” for the Ladies Home Journal. The story was about her widowed sister who had three children, and was based in Newport. A year later MGM acquired the rights to Luther’s story, and the film was shot in San Diego with Shirley Jones and Gig Young starring.
Bill Sprague, also a Jamestown resident, made a film about the tall ships in 1976. Sprague will be on hand to show a clip from “The Last Connection” and to offer commentary.
“Me, Myself, & Irene” is a 2000 film that starred Jim Carrey. “It’s a film that can easily offend everyone who sees it in one way or another,” Maden laughed. “It seems like they were here for weeks filming, and there are scenes that take place on Narragansett Avenue.”
For filming purposes, the Conanicut Marine Services Ship’s Store was converted into a law office and a barbershop called “Freddie’s,” in tribute to Fred Bingell, the owner of the House of Pizza across the street. Bingell will provide memorabilia for the evening, and Bill Munger and Ken Newman will offer their recollections of the filmmaking experience.
A very different film from 2000, the tense Cuban missile crisis thriller “Thirteen Days,” starred Bruce Greenwood as President John F. Kennedy, and Kevin Costner as presidential advisor Kenny O’Donnell. Jamestowner Guy Archambault served as technical advisor for the Navy on the film, and he will be on hand to discuss his experience.
The 2007 film “Evening” boasted an all-star cast that included Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy and Natasha Richardson. Several scenes from the film were shot at a dock in Mackerel Cove. The cliffs at Fort Wetherill were also used in filming.
“Ken Caswell, who is active with the Jamestown Fire Department, was there, and he filmed them filming the movie,” said Maden. Parts of Caswell’s film will be shown.
Jamestown’s Chris Walsh was the location assistant for “Evening,” and his son Colin served as assistant location manager.
Many people will remember the recent filming of “Dan In Real Life” here in Jamestown. Among the local locations was Munger’s East Ferry property, which was turned into a bookstore for the occasion. Walsh also worked on that film, and another son, Eion, was the location manager.
The idea for “Jamestown and the Silver Screen” began with a historical society exhibit about movies made in Jamestown at Lawn Avenue School.
“Then we thought that maybe we should do something bigger, a yearlong activity, and involve other organizations,” Maden said. “Each organization takes responsibility for its program. It’s just been a wonderful thing for the community and these nonprofits that got together. Most the programs have been extremely well attended.”
“Clips and Quips” takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Jamestown library. Admission is free.