Monday, May 12, 2008

Celebrate National Preservation Month with a movie!

My Friend Amanda Loughlin reminded her Architectural friends that May is National Preservation Month, and in honor of this occasion she outlined several good movies with a preservation bend to them. In her own words, "Watching one or all of these will do nothing to save the world, but it will enlighten you on issues pertaining to the preservation of buildings, neighborhoods, and land."

Here is Amanda's movie pics:

Blandings Builds His Dream House (Myrna Loy, Cary Grant) 1948 Comedy about a couple who buy a great old house in New England but end up having to build a new home because the old one is unlivable. This was made into a movie after the book of the same title. It’s the one book in a million that I don’t prefer to the movie. Preservation Issue: How much are you willing to invest in an old structure to save it?

The Haunting (Julie Harris) 1963 A great scary story about an evil old house that seems to be alive and manipulating the mind of a visitor. This is also a book (Shirley Jackson). It was “remade” in 1999, but don’t bother with that one because it’s horrible. Preservation Issue: Is it justifiable to tear down a stable historic building because of its association with evil?

Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (Bette Davis, Olivia de Haviland) 1964 Very macabre, but rather a great thriller about an old woman with a terrible family secret. Preservation Issue: She lives in an antebellum house that is going to be torn down for a highway (this is pre-National Historic Preservation Act of 1966).

The Goonies (Sean Astin, Corey Feldman) 1985 Group of friends embark on a treasure hunt to find money to pay off a developer who wants to buy their neighborhood. Pirates, preservation, and the truffle-shuffle. It can’t get much better than that. Preservation Issue: Neighborhood and Community Preservation…did I mention there is a pirate ship in this?

Two Weeks Notice (Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant) 2002 She is an activist who chains herself to buildings. She “falls in love” with her developer-loving boss. Warning, it’s a chick flick…but it’s not too sappy. Preservation Issue: The differing opinions of preservationists and developers.

Miss Potter (Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor) 2007 Really wonderful story about Beatrix Potter; she was instrumental in land conservation in England at the beginning of the 20th century. Preservation Issue: Land conservation vs. development in early 20th century England.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Cusak, Kevin Spacey) 1997 About the preservation of historic Savannah. I’ve only read the book, and if you can get through all the filth that makes you want to take a shower after reading each chapter, the preservation issues are intriguing. Preservation Issues: Gentrification, Historic District Preservation

Cars (Owen Wilson, Paul Newman) 2006 Animated comedy about a forgotten highway out West. Preservation Issue: The decline of the small town when the big new highway takes travelers away – think Route 66.
Amanda Loughlin is wonderfuly creative person with a great sence of humor. She also seems to have a good talent for picking movies. Way to go Amanda! This is a fantastic list of movies.

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