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David Halliday.

Victoria, Press Porcepic, c1983.
113pp, paper, $15.95 (cloth), $9.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-88878-209-8 (cloth), 0-88878-208-X (paper).

Grades 5 and up.
Reviewed by Boh .

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Making Movies is a very funny book. Having decided to "write a book as if it were a television programme dealing with the cinema," David Halliday "thought it might be fun to parody both the BBC and the sanctity with which films are treated in Europe."

The book takes the form of a BBC documentary that focuses on "the well-known Canadian filmmaker Samuel Bremmer." Unfortunately, the filming of the program was marred by the untimely death of Mr. Bremmer. It is dedicated to him and begins by introducing Bremmer's company of actors:

         MAURICE DUBOIS: So we are supposed to talk about ourselves
         for a moment. This will probably be the last original thing
         you will hear from my lips. An actor is a puppet. He is the
         shell, the suit of multitudinous spirits. Our bodies are promiscuous.
         An actor is the medium of invention, the house that is haunted,
         the radio receiver, the echo of another's voice. As the child is
         the product of his parent's lust, we are the offspring of someone's
         need to speak and another's need to listen. . . When I joined this
         company of actors I had only been in Toronto for a few weeks. They
         believed me when I told them I was in a Shakespearian company in
         England. Perhaps they thought it racist to call a black man a liar. . .

Much of the time Halliday gently pulls the reader's leg; sometimes he tries to yank the leg right off!

After the actors and Bremmer (all of them fictional characters) have introduced themselves, we are treated to a Bremmer film, The Gunfighter. The film-script, which reads like a scrawny malnourished poem, runs in a thin column down the left side of the page; on the right side, the director, actors, set designer, screenwriter, and music director provide running commentary on the acting company, the film, and the problems in making the film. The Gunfighter is cliché-ridden and amateurish. It's awful. It consists mostly of rain:

         days pass
         rain pours on
         night and day
         are one

Bremmer boasts that The Gunfighter has become "something of an underground classic in Europe. . ."

Six other films, The City of Gold, The Contract, Lindbergh, The Avenger, Mirror, Minor. . . and End of the Road are also shown and analysed. This slender, easy-to-read satire will keep you in stitches.

Boh Kinczyk, Central Elgin C. I., St. Thomas, ON
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