Monday, March 26, 2007

84 Charing Cross Road

I've a new favorite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft. The surprise payoff is that Judi Dench plays the small role of Anthony's wife, but that's just one of the many reasons to love this movie. It's charming and lovely and smart.

Anyway, I'm guessing that the book, 84 Charing Cross Road, might be the first "book about books". For 20 years, Helene Hanff, a feisty New York writer, corresponded with a small antiquarian bookstore in London, primarily with one man, called Frank Doel. She originally answered an ad in the book review, hoping to find inexpensive, rare books. Over the years, they became friends, bonding over their love of books, but sharing news of family and baseball and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Sadly, they never met and Helene never visited Marks & Co before it closed. But she did write a wonderful book that was made into a wonderful movie. Hats off to the screenwriters.

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