The production of this sea epic was inspired by the actor, Sterling Hayden, a friend of director, Raul daSilva. Hayden had been the captain of a tall ship as a young man (leading to his discovery by Paramount Pictures). See more »
As an temporary adjunct instructor at a small college in Rochester, NY I had complained to my friend, the late Hollywood actor, Sterling Hayden (who had been a master of tall ships as a young man before being discovered by Paramount Pictures) that I was having trouble getting my students to take the time to read Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner let alone study it. Sterling, who loved the piece, countered that since I was a successful filmmaker; why not try to bring the epic poem to life on film? He urged me more than once.
After some struggle I located enough funding to put together the efforts of fine illustrators from both the 19th and 20th Centuries who had rendered scenes from the epic poem. This would visualize a hoped for narration by a gifted actor.
Also with some research I soon discovered that British actor, Sir Michael Redgrave had once taught the poem as a schoolmaster early in his career. I flew to London and had him narrate the poem for me. He did a very fine reading, exactly as written by Coleridge. The film took two years to complete due to the highly technical nature of photoanimation performed on an Oxberry Master series animation stand for the visualization and my efforts to film the art using good technique and exposures.
The six international film festival prizes and universal media critical acclaim that followed aside, what I found most rewarding was the letters from teachers as far away as Australia where the film had been broadcast --- thanking me for helping to make this great, immortal piece of literature, written in Coleridge's rough idea of Elizabethan English, accessible to their students. Sterling Hayden was right all along and many students and lovers of the poem are in his debt.
As it is the epic poem speaks to the sanctity of all life on earth- a message perhaps more appropriate today than when it was first imagined and written in 1798. No longer available on VHS it has been available on DVD since April, 2007. Please go to www.Amazon,com to see the DVD listing for this film.
The production received first place recognition in international competition at five of six film festivals in the United States. Of the six entries, it received six prizes. The two primary artists used in the depiction from the past two centuries, Gustave Dore and Willy Pogany are both well known throughout the world. This was one way to salute them and express gratitude for their efforts with the Coleridge work, which I found extraordinary. If the viewer understands they are separated by many decades and why they were united here, the idea to have one style in the film is subjugated.
Raul daSilva, producer-director.
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