Jack Garner: Intrepid balloon star of new documentary
05:00 AM, Oct 19, 2013
Today’s surprising trivia: Under whose presidential administration did the U.S. have the start of what could be called an Air Force (sort of) and the first aircraft carrier (sort of)? Would you believe Abraham Lincoln?
It’s true, and a Rochester father-and-son team have joined forces to tell the fascinating story of Lincoln’s Civil War balloon corps in The Intrepid. The half-hour film airs on WXXI-TV at 9 p.m. Monday (Oct. 21), with a repeat at 6 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26).
Malcolm Spaull, the chair of the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institute of Technology, directs the half-hour film with polish and skill, from a script by his fellow producer (and son), Matthew Spaull.
The Spaulls weave their story in parallel strands, detailing:
The historic story of Thaddeus Lowe, who convinced Lincoln of the value of hot-air balloons for reconnaissance over North-South battlefields, here troop levels and movements could be ascertained. The filmmakers combine interviews, archival photos, recreated action, animation, and other narrative devices.
The modern-day story of the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford came to secure and display a replica of the famous Intrepid balloon. The format is straight contemporary documentary, with interviews and on-site footage. Peter Coyote, the king of modern-day voiceovers, narrates.
MORE HITCHCOCK. Alfred Hitchcock will continue to buzz around Rochester. The Hitchcock 9, a package of Hitch’s earliest surviving silent British films, are touring America, and will be shown at the Dryden Theatre on various nights from Nov. 7 through Dec. 28.
The Hitchcock 9 were organized and restored by the British Film Institute, and are The Manxman, Champagne, The Ring (a boxing drama), The Farmer’s Wife, Noel Coward’s Easy Virtue, The Pleasure Garden (Hitch’s first directorial effort), Downhill and two especially legendary films, Blackmail and a fabulous Jack the Ripper tale, The Lodger.