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Boston gets its close-up

Posted by Ty Burr  July 3, 2008 03:48 PM

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I'm way late off the dime on this, but flipping through Paul Sherman's book "Big Screen Boston" has been so much fun I just have to logroll it in this space.

You'd think that, aside from the recent flurry of Hollywood-on-the-Charles action, there wouldn't be enough Boston set and shot movies to fill a book. And you'd think wrong. Sherman, a former Boston Herald film critic and past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics, exhumes all sorts of fascinating forgotten films, like 1950's "Mystery Street" (aka "Murder at Harvard," photo above) and 1979's "Billy in the Lowlands." Of course the usual suspects are here: "The Departed" and "Boondock Saints," "Charly" and "Good Will Hunting." And 1973's "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," which Sherman rightly cites as the best Bahston movie evah. "Big Screen Boston" gets into the history and into the vast gulf between real Boston and screen Boston; he lays out everything that got left on the cutting room floor in "A Civil Action."

The Harvard documentary axis is fully represented, as are all those indie strivers making neighborhood movies that seemingly went nowhere. They went into Sherman's memory banks is where they went, and now they're between the pages of his enclusive, smartly-written book. An essential purchase for Bay State cinemaniacs, this does what all good movie books do: Makes you want to run out and see the movies.

There's a nice interview with Sherman on the New England Film website.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

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Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

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