84 Charing Cross Road

And the Winner is…

(Originally published on the Windscape Book Company blog.)

Sandwiched in between the music and sound categories at this year’s Oscars’ ceremony were the awards for Best Short Films. The winner for Best Animated Short was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I’d never heard of any of the nominees, but the next day I googled the winning film to see if I could find out a little bit more.

Sure enough, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore has its own website and the 15 minute film was available for viewing on YouTube, and for purchase on Itunes.

Quoting their website:

“Inspired in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a… hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old-fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.”

It is very good, well worth taking the time, and it’s just as heart-warming as their press suggests.

It reminded me of a few other movies I’ve seen made about books. 84, Charing Cross Road was based on one by Helene Hanff, which I absolutely loved. The movie was a little disappointing, as they often are. However, the book was also made into a stage play, which has gathered quite a following. A British fan has put together a website devoted to the books’ historical elements starting with its bookstore, Marks & Co. If you’ve read Hanff’s novel, 84, Charing Cross Road Revisited will put the story into context.

And, if you have children, you’ve probably seen The Pagemaster, with Macaulay Culkin, at least once. It was a favourite in my house for quite a while. Although panned by many of the critics, it encouraged my son to pick up a few of the classics, which was good enough for me!

There are many movies based on books, but movies about books are harder to come by. Which one of your favourites would you recommend?

Photo credit (top): 84 Charing Cross Road by Off the Quill Inc. Productions.

Published by

D.M. Bookseller

Selling used, out-of-print, and collectible non-fiction with a focus on the history of Canada's Great Plains.

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