Exceptional short film about a boy and his grandfather
"Grandpa Doc" is the heartfelt story of a man (Bruce Davison), his mother (Barbara Rush), and, respectively, their grandfather and father (Melvyn Douglas), a doctor who is the Grandpa Doc of the story. Davison is an artist, whose artwork is being given a gala reception in an art gallery. Rush arrives in town to attend the opening; she doesn't know the theme of his works till they arrive the night of the show, and when she sees them, the paintings bring back the memories of many summers spent in an oceanside house with Grandpa Doc and numerous other relatives. These flashbacks flesh out the story, and make the viewer think of the lost summers of their own youth. It's a very warm and human film, seldom seen these days, and I can't watch it without crying. The memories of my own summers come flooding back.
The leads in this short film are all wonderful. Davison has been overlooked for so long, and I don't know why. He's a down-to-earth actor, solid in everything I've ever seen him in. Rush is remarkably human in this short, which is a true accomplishment for her since she always seems so distant and aloof. Douglas plays Grandpa Doc with the jaunty and jovial air of a personable, caring man; someone I would have liked to have known in real life.
"Grandpa Doc" was shown on cable in it's earliest days and as far as I know has never been available for purchase. There was a companion piece by the same filmmaker, "Peege," with Jeannette Nolan as Davisons' paternal grandmother, that ran at the same time and is even harder to find. It was in the same vein, though, very tender and moving if just a bit depressing. I had the forethought to tape both of them, or they would be completely forgotten now. This is a shame, since both of these short films are a wonderful way spend 30 minutes.
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