My Story Behind "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"

By The Philosophy Man
Written September 14, 2016
I remember when I was 10 years old in 1977, and this film made its television debut on NBC. My parents and I were looking through the TV Guide for something to watch the night it premiered, and you couldn't tell much from the description in the "Guide", but it looked like the best thing to watch that particular evening...I didn't know it at the time, but it was an evening that would forever change my life. I had never seen a film more moving nor a performance more outstanding (by Alan Arkin) in all my life. To this day, it remains my favorite film of all time. I also loved the score by Dave ("David" when the film was made in 1968) Grusin. I decided that very night what I wanted to be when I grew up...a film composer, and indeed I did. I never lost sight of that dream, and had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Grusin when I attended Berklee College of Music after I left high school in the mid '80s...I told him how much his score and this film had changed my life, and that it was my favorite of all his scores...He was very kind and told me that it was his favorite too. I also remember writing to Alan Arkin after having had such a moving experience with "Heart"...It was back in the days when you could go to the back of a comic book or whatever, and see ads where, for just $1.99, you could purchase a book of the real addresses of the stars (not just c/o Warner Bros, etc)...So I got Mr Arkin's address, and wrote to him telling how much I loved his performance in "Heart"...A couple of weeks later, he actually wrote back to me, and thanked me very much for my interest in his film. One thing I remember being interesting. I had already seen the NBC network premier of "Heart", and always kept watch in the TV Guide for a re-run...It just so happened that I saw where the film was going to be playing again on some particular night, and was greatly looking forward to seeing "My Favorite Film" once again...It also just so happened , though, that it was on the same night that "Star Wars" was premiering at our local cinema, and my parents wanted to go see that, and they couldn't, at 10 years old, leave me home alone...I remember reluctantly going with them...The line was way around the block for "Star Wars", and once we got in, the place was packed to capacity and they had to actually turn people away. I never despised a movie more in my life. After sitting through about the first 20 minutes of this sci-fi /fantasy junk, I starting almost YELLING at my parents to take me home to see my favorite movie of all time!!...I'm sure I was the only kid in that theater, or ANY theater for that matter, to rather be home watching a drama about a deaf mute than seeing the premier of "Star Wars"!!...I don't remember how I managed to sit through "Wars", but to my recollection, I MUST have somehow because I remember my parents wouldn't take me home to see "Heart"...(Man, if only we had VCRs in 1977, I would have been all set) !!!...But at least today, we can actually OWN movies and watch them whenever we want in the privacy of our own homes!! So now, I have a home theater in the living room of my apartment with several copies of "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" DVD displayed, along with Dave Grusin's soundtrack on CD...and I'm in heaven...just like back in 1977. By the way, I have NEVER owned a copy of "Star Wars"...LOL !! Barry
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