By GERRY BARKER
Renowned as the primetime host of Turner Classic Movies, who better to make an appearance at the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s exhibition, “Art of the Hollywood Backdrop,” than Ben Mankiewicz?
Mankiewicz, who hails from a famous Hollywood family, was here Saturday, Dec. 10, to greet fans and media. The exhibit, which has broken museum attendance records, takes guests behind the scenes of some of Hollywood’s most famous movies, where the oversized backdrops sent actors around the world without ever leaving a soundstage.
During the meet and greet, guests wanting a photo surrounded Mankiewicz in front of one of film’s most iconic scenes — the 90-foot-wide painting of Mt. Rushmore used in the Hitchcock classic, “North by Northwest.”
Many of the backdrops are accompanied by monitors showing film clips of how the finished product looked on celluloid. Other backdrops on display include Ben-Hur’s Rome and the Von Trapp Family’s Austrian Alps, as well as one of my favorites, the “Make ‘Em Laugh” scene with Donald O’Connor from “Singing in the Rain.” It made me want to sit on that couch by his memorable dummy dance partner.
The exhibition, which opened in April, ends Jan. 22, 2023, so don’t miss your chance to admire the magic created by the Hollywood artisans who are getting long-overdue recognition.