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Ferndale Library Staff Recommends: Ed's Picks

Another round of personal picks presented for your consideration of recreational/enlightening engagement by the staff at the Ferndale Library. This week, Head of Reference Ed Burns offers up some favorite movies from his youth.

Even before Ed Burns was a librarian here at , he was passionate about the place.

His work with the Friends of the Ferndale Library group was only the beginning. Ed puts on the library's periodic themed movie series, and will be bringing the wildly successful "Movieable Feast" program back to this year's summer schedule.

In addition to purchasing DVDs for the library, he also selects books for our non-fiction section. All this and he manages the Reference Department and can often be seen helping patrons with computer and reference questions. Let's hear what great movie picks Ed has for us this week!

Ed's Picks

By Ed Burns

I’ve been working as a librarian at the Ferndale Public Library for five years.  Among my duties is selecting foreign and independent DVDs as well as classics and documentaries. I’ve been an avid movie fan for as far back as I can recall.  I grew up before the advent of video and would watch just about any movie that was on TV. Most weekends would find me with one or more of my siblings at a local movie theatre. When I was about 14, I told my father I thought I’d like to be a movie critic. He replied, “The difference between a movie critic and you is like the difference between a wine connoisseur and a wino.” I couldn’t really argue the point.

I still watch a lot of movies - old and new, foreign and domestic, offbeat and mainstream. But most of my favorites are the favorites from my youth, particularly my teen years. I could easily reel off a dozen. For now, let’s go with these:

Harold and Maude (DVD COMEDY) is a dark comedy from 1971.  It tells the unlikely love story of a depressed 20-year old man and a free-spirited 79-year old woman.  It stars Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort and was directed by Hal Ashby.  The film wasn’t much of a hit when it was released, but it developed a loyal cult following.  I first saw it when I was a free-spirited, if angsty, adolescent.  The film’s life-affirming message and Cat Stevens soundtrack really resonated with me.  Forty years later, they still do.  It’s also still hilarious.

King of Hearts (DVD FOREIGN) is a 1966 French anti-war comedy directed by Philippe de Broca.  It stars Alan Bates as a Scottish soldier sent to disarm a bomb that the Germans have planted in a small French town.  The town has been evacuated, except for the residents of the local asylum who won’t leave, and think that the hapless soldier is their king.  This film also found a devoted cult fandom, almost certainly due in part to the classic crowd-pleasing ending.  It is in French with English subtitles.  You can watch a dubbed version, but I implore you not to.

Throughout the 70s, one could often find an art house or second-run movie theatre showing Harold and Maude and King of Hearts on a double bill.  I used to love to take friends for their first time, and I always got the feeling that others were doing the same.  It seemed that during the opening of Harold and Maude, much of the audience was laughing, while the rest were looking at their companions wondering what was so funny about a young man hanging himself.  Sometimes, if you were lucky, the theatre would also be showing these two short films:  

Thank You Mask Man is a 1971 animated film about how the Lone Ranger hooked up with Tonto.  The voices are all Lenny Bruce in a recording of a stand-up routine from the early 60s.  If you’re averse to politically incorrect humor, skip it.  If you’re like me, watch it and laugh. 

Bambi Meets Godzilla is a 1969 short film of which I can tell you nothing without spoiling it.

Both of the shorts can be viewed at Youtube.com.  Harold and Maude and King of Hearts are available for checkout at the Ferndale Public Library.  

Ferndale Patch thanks Ed Burns, Head of Reference, for contributing to Patch! Check back soon for more ideas from library staff. Are you looking for recommendations on something specific? Email jessica.schrader@patch.com, and we'll pass on your questions to the library.

Ferndale_1986 May 24, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Ed Burns is a gentleman and a scholar.
Todd Abrams May 24, 2012 at 09:16 PM
All of the movies in the foreign DVD section are worth watching. There are some real gems on those shelves. Well done, Ed!

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