2 May 2008 | blanche-2
home movies - a truly lovely documentary
I never knew that John Mills began his career as a song and dance man until I saw his documentary, "Sir John Mills' Moving Memories" done in 2000. Part biography, part filmography, part home movies, this is a delightful look at the actor, his family and his friends over the years. His children, Juliet, Hayley and Jonathan talk about growing up in different houses and being on various film sets and on vacation; Mills talks about his career, his life and his marriage, with much film taken behind the scenes of various films and of stars visiting his home - Stewart Granger, Jean Simmons, Tyrone Power, David Niven, Dirk Bogarde, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright, Ian McShane and many others. Most poignant is Mills singing a love song to his wife; at the time, unlike shots of her as a vibrant, happy redhead in many of his movies, she seems somewhat out of it but attentive - a sad and beautiful moment.
For those of us who are baby boomers and for whom John Mills was merely Hayley's father while we were growing up, this is a wonderful look at a distinguished family of actors and one of the finest British actors, John Mills, from the time he was a young man. It's always bittersweet to see the story of someone's life from youth to old age but in this case, it was a triumphant life and well worth experiencing.