Title:Stone Reader

Release Date:2003

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 130 Minutes

MPAA Rating:G

Distributor and Production Company:PBS and Jet Films; Point of View Films; Independent Film Project (IFP)

Director; Writer: Mark Moskowitz

Producer: Robert Gordon

Cast:†† Mark Moskowitz, Dow Mossman

Technical: Super 16 (apparently)

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I saw this at the University of Minnesota one day after Mr. Moskowitz was in town and available to meet. I am quite taken by his passion for a literary event and author biography that parallels somewhat my own.


In 1972 Dow Mossman had his novel The Stones of Summer published by a small trade house that would soon get absorbed in corporate mergers. It is a long novel of a coming of age from World War II to the Vietnam era, apparently with much account of the war protests and civil rights movement. It got a glowing review in the New York Times but would, in time, be forgotten and run out of print. Moskowitz would discover a copy in his own home and become fascinated with it, as apparently it bore parallels to his own life.


And it sounds like maybe if bears parallels to the first two chapters of my own Do Ask, Do Tell, although we may have to wait until Barnes and Noble reprints the book and releases it in September 2003.The film, however, turns into a docudrama detective story as Moskowitz first, operating from his home in the Philadelphia suburbs, first investigates why the book died and then skip traces and finds Mossman himself, much of the research in an Iowa university library.Many writers, such as Margaret Mitchell, wrote only one large book or novel. Many of the top ten first books of the century would not have successors. Mossmanís own life story would seem to be a disturbing one, of youthful creative energy running out (we think of the composer Richard Strauss). He would raise a family, work 19 years as a welder and then bundling newspapers. He would take care of an ill mother until she died. He would, it seem, become consumed by adaptation. Yet, he would keep reading, his passion for literature. Shakespeare, he says, ended the Middle Ages.


But The Stones of Summer seems due for renewal, and perhaps even later a motion picture, perhaps able to get the resources of a production company the size, say, of Village Roadshow Pictures. It is time, after all, that Hollywood discover literature, for grownups and not just Harry Potter.

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