I don’t get a whole lot of comments on this blog.
I tend to fly under the radar……whispering into the wind…wondering where the words fall or if anybody reads them….
One of the posts that I wrote a while back (I’ve been getting up early and drinking coffee ….and writing this blog…long enough now that I can say YEARS AGO….that’s kind of cool….anyway…) was a post about a movie called “Sourdough”.
Alaskan bush life….recorded by a man named Rod Perry and starring his father, Gil.
This was a really good movie…different from the bulk of the movies “out there”.
Here is what was in my mailbox this morning:
It’s so awesome to finally here more about this movie. Watching it years ago as boy who grew up in the woods of BC totally changed my life. I went on to start a wilderness school from the inspiration this movie gave me. I looked for years online to find it in VHS. I finally found a used copy on Amazon. It arrived broken to pieces. I took a brand new blank VHS tape and exchange the shell with the broken one. I watched it once. It didn’t work very well. It got all jammed it the VCR and that was the end of it. I wanted to have it put on DVD but it got ruined before I could get to it. I guess I have to just remember it from memory. Which BTW that movie have a couple lines that I could never forget. Lot’s of wisdom in the writing. Thanks Rod and thanks to your dad. Thanks Peter.
Cool to get a comment…and cool to know that the movie mattered to people.
It’s a hard one to find and to see now….and I don’t really know how to change that.
You shouldn’t have to try to repair a broken tape to get a chance to see this movie!
(I understand the creativity behind your efforts, John! I would have done the same thing….)
That’s a good movie.
I hope that you get a chance to see it someday.
Here’s a letter that Rod Perry wrote to me after the initial post…..that answers some of the questions about the movie that I had.
(Rod’s website, where you can read his blog and order his books, can be found at rodperry.com)
That blog entry on my film Sourdough was a very nicely done piece and I thank you for your kind words. Back in the 70s when Sourdough showed in theaters around the globe, and afterwards when it was shown to regional TV audiences and printed for the VHS market, the film gathered quite a loyal “cult following” that to this day persists. Like any older film, it faded out and became almost impossible to find. Then maybe 15 years ago, Blockbuster brought it out again as a “new release” and once more it could be easily come by. Now of course, it has declined and again become hard to find.
As a filmmaker, I tackled the project with no background whatsoever even in photography, much less cinematography. What I did have going was a art background and innate ability as a storyteller. I thought that if I could but master the film medium I could express myself. I also had an idea for a story I was sure would resonate, a picturesque father who believed in me and agreed to play the part, and (between us) probably many times over a greater volume of expertise as outdoorsmen than all of Hollywood’s technical advisers combined.
By the time it was over I was viewed by many as Alaska’s foremost outdoor cinematographer. But for various reasons, I put down my camera never to pick it up again, a case if there ever was one of burying one’s God-given talents. Just this last year, however, after 35 years, I have the film bug back, with a couple of documentaries and a reality show in mind. Whether or not those dreams gain traction will be a matter of finding backing, and that’s seldom easy.
I can tell you that anyone who’s attracted to my motion picture will be as attracted to my books TRAILBREAKERS Pioneering Alaska’s Iditarod. Volume I, about how the old gold rush trail was born, quickly sold out. I’ve rewritten and greatly expanded it, and it should be back in print before next summer. Volume II is about birth of “the Last Great Race On Earth”, the daring 1973 run that founded it, of which I was was one of the pioneering drivers.
Back to Sourdough and my father, I recall telling my mother as we laid him to rest, that I felt so fortunate to have been gifted his final years sharing hardships of the trail and grinding it out against all odds in our belief we could bring off the impossible. I talked to her about how wonderful it had been to have my dad at my back when virtually everyone else out there seemed to dismiss our efforts as those of deluded, naive fools, and rate our chances, at best, to turn out an amateurish flick that might, sponsored by the county rod and gun club, show once down at the local high school auditorium then be forgotten. And then I expressed to her how enriching it was for posterity to have a full-length film featuring my father in his element, not only for me but for the children I hoped to have some day, as well as future generations who would never otherwise know him.
Again Peter, thank you for your glowing assessment of Sourdough. And best wishes to you as a blogger. I look forward to following along.
(I pulled the trailer for the movie off of YouTube….and, like everything I do on this blog, don’t really have permission to use it…but….IT’S SO GOOD!! The weird voiceover on the trailer isn’t something I remember from the movie… kind of strange. The movie is a lot better than the trailer….but this gives you a taste of what it was…..Maybe you need to watch it with the sound turned down….just watch Rod’s cinematography?)