What Todd Haynes Was Doing 22 Years Before MILDRED PIERCE

The director of HBO’s latest miniseries smash and films like VELVET GOLDMINE and I’M NOT THERE once got his Claymation on in a live action parody of DAVEY AND GOLIATH.

If you answered starring opposite Susan Norman (Knight Rider 2000) in a live action parody of the 1960s Christian stop-motion children’s series, Davey and Goliath, you’d be correct.

Haynes’ (Safe, Far From Heaven) Mildred Pierce launched recently on HBO, debuting the first hyped and well received hour of five in the Depression era miniseries based on James M. Cain’s 1941 novel of the same name.

If you’ve surrendered an arm for basic cable, but not a leg for the premium channels, we’re in the same boat. And this vessel is cruising toward a not so surprisingly populated island of woeful first world problems. We’ll commiserate there patiently until it receives a DVD release, won’t we?

In the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to share one of his moth-eaten projects of the past. Nope, I’m not referring to Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story because that Barbie is surprisingly resilient.

He Was Once (1989), directed by the elusive Mary Hestand, was one of the many fruits of Christine Vachon (Producer-Mildred Pierce, Killer Films) and Todd Haynes’ labor following their post Poison blossoming working/creative relationship. Together they curated a collection of shorts from emerging artists who at the time weren’t necessarily operating within the confines of conventional film making (imagine that) under now defunct Apparatus Productions.

It was pure happenstance that I bump into it now, and can be found on a highly recommended issue of Wholphin, No. 10 (also on that disc are brilliant shorts from Natalie Portman, Spencer Susser, and Jonathan Demme).