Submitted by the Larchmont Public Library:
Having been a resident of Larchmont for over forty-five years, you could say that Rob Goldstone is a real Man About Town. And while he may be just that, he is also a man about film. But not just any film. He is the quintessential film buff with a firm belief that the best films of all time are those produced during Hollywood’s “golden age”; the films produced between 1930 and 1960. But Goldstone is much more than simply a film buff. Over the past several years he has been passionately sharing his love for “classic film” with those around him by screening films and discussing all of the things that make them great including the books that the films are based on. His passion drove him ultimately to a unique concept for sharing and presenting the films he loves, creating “The Book and the Movie”; a monthly film series held at the Larchmont Public Library in which he screens classic films and discusses not only the film but also the book the film is based on.
Born in New York City, Goldstone started going to the movies at a very young age. He fondly recalls that for fifteen cents he could spend an afternoon or an evening viewing two feature films, a serial, sports highlights and current newsreels. Very often, the price of admission would include things like free kitchen glassware which he would take home. The films Goldstone viewed as a youth solidified in him a love for quality film and film making.
Goldstone’s love for film grew from his youth into his adult years. For many years, he was President of his family’s $40-million manufacturing business. While manufacturing paid the bills, his love of film and his passion for sharing that love is what really sustained him. His thirst for the films he loves never has been quenched and is evidenced by the fact that he has seen the Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman classic, “Casablanca”, over one-hundred and forty-five times. And that’s but one film of the hundreds that he has seen, many multiple times.
It is interesting to note that Goldstone’s passion for film doesn’t extend far beyond the films produced in the early 1960’s. There’s a reason for this. The 1960’s were a time of tremendous change within the social fabric of our nation and the changes the country experienced had a profound impact on film and how films are made. “The films of Hollywood’s Golden Age have it all. Starting with a great story, these films have stars and great supporting casts in which many are often stars in their own right,” says Goldstone. “They also have great soundtracks by master composers such as George Gershwin, Lorenze Hart and many others who were equally talented, as well as masterful film directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra. These films didn’t have to rely on story-less special effects like many of the films of today.”
Goldstone believes that today’s film audience suffers from a lack of quality in the films that they see. That is not to say that Goldstone believes that there are no good films being made today; just that they are few and far between. Hollywood has come to rely on technology and special effects in place of great acting and a great story. “The creative geniuses just aren’t there these days”, says Goldstone. “There is just no comparing an artist like Samuel Goldwyn or Daryl Zanuck with the film makers of today”. But Goldstone is a realist and understands that different generations embrace different things. “The films of Hollywood’s heyday may ultimately be more appealing to an older audience”, he said. “But young people, if they take the time and approach these films with an open mind, will see the artistry and the glamour of the films I love. And they’ll be able to learn from that experience”.
Goldstone has been diligently working on a book which will be called “The Book and the Movie”, taking its title from his film series. While his passion lies with the films themselves, he has done a mammoth amount of research into the backstory of the making of each film and presents a host of little-known facts about each film in his monthly presentations. These facts and anecdotes will appear in his book and will serve to make it unique among film books. He will also include his own personal experiences with film stars and personalities. “Years ago, I met Jason Robards on a drinking spree in Manhattan and not long after that, I held the door open for Helen Hayes as she was leaving the Algonquin hotel”. He continues, “I’ve been lucky to be in the right place at the right time on a number of occasions. I’ve conversed with Sydney Pollack over lunch at Bally’s, met Gwen Verdon in a flower nursery in West Hampton and helped Lauren Bacall buy some orange juice in a local deli”.