Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Lost World of Mr. Hardy.

A little while back, I was contacted by Trufflepig Films about reviewing their film, The Lost World of Mr. Hardy, by Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier. Honestly, I was reluctant to agree to review their film, but after a little thought, I could not say no. The reluctance came because I never really envisioned TRIW as a place for reviews. We fish, and we like to keep it about our experiences on the water. My second worry dealt with whether or not I would like the film. I am a part of that generational divide that exists in the sport between the new guard and the old guard and for all I knew at the time, The Lost World of Mr. Hardy dealt entirely with old school material. After having watched the film, I came to realize that every angler, young and old, can benefit from watching this historical film.

The Lost World of Mr Hardy (trailer) from Trufflepig Films on Vimeo.

L.R. Hardy.

L.R. & Friends.

The Perfect.

The film documents the origins of Hardy, its ascent as a world leader in tackle, and the eventual outsourcing of their reels to the Far East. As a student and teacher of history I enjoyed the film immensely. The film weaves its tale through the use of archival footage and interviews with James Hardy, former craftsman of Hardy, and modern day rodsmiths. As the story progresses, Hardy struggles to adjust to changing times with the advent of new technologies and mass market development. In the early 1960s, James Hardy (the last family proprietor) eventually gave into corporate interests in order to save the company. As the transition occurs, you can feel the heartache in the interviews as traditional methods of production give way to the industrialized approach today. The time, effort, and soul that went into equipment in the old days is now lost and only practiced by a select few. The film wonderfully replicates the soul that went into every rod, reel, and fly produced in  Mr. Hardy's world.

The Old Factory.

Hard at Work.

Chris Lythe Mastering an Old Craft.

My favorite parts of the film include:

- S.S. Hardy filming his adventures and having his assistant takeover during moments in which, he could potentially get his trousers' dirty.
- James Hardy discussing the one and only time he ever ate a carp.
- Ken Middlemist fully dressing a salmon fly by hand

Ken Middlemist at Work.

All Done By Hand.

As the film ended, I came away with a greater appreciation for the sport of fly fishing. It opened up a window into the past through which exist many avenues to further enrich oneself and our appreciation for the sport. I am barely scratching the surface by merely tying my own flies. A whole world exists out there where rods are made, reels are forged, and fish our caught with materials that are handcrafted using natural materials. The Lost World of Mr. Hardy, brought to life this world and allows anyone who fly fishes, young and old, a chance to dive right in.

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