Remember that iconic shot of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, framed by the seductive leg of Anne Bancroft’s Mrs. Robinson?
It was directed by Mike Nichols, photographed by cinematographer Robert Surtees. But it was originally drawn by Harold Michelson, one of the greatest storyboard artists Hollywood has ever known. He helped create the classic visuals for dozens of famous films, including The Ten Commandments, West Side Story, and The Birds.
But his professional legacy is only a fraction of the story of the new documentary, Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and has its North American premiere at the DOC NYC festival this month. He and his wife, Lillian, a legendary film researcher whose archives and know-how helped inform films like Fiddler on the Roof, Rocky, and Scarface, were a beloved showbiz couple. They eloped for Hollywood in 1947, raised three kids during 60 years of marriage, and their home and offices became a warm and welcoming place for many artists who found themselves working long hours thousands of miles from home.
“They were like two peas in a pod,” says Danny DeVito, in the exclusive new trailer for the doc. In 2004, director Kelly Asbury and the animators behind Shrek 2 paid them the honor of naming Fiona’s parents, King Harold and Queen Lillian.
Directed by Daniel Raim (The Man on Lincoln’s Nose) and featuring interviews with Mel Brooks and Francis Ford Coppola, the documentary is a touching tribute to a beautiful Hollywood romance and the often overlooked artists who enhance all of our favorite films.
Harold & Lillian is looking for a distributor and hoping for a 2016 release.