Many people wonder about the difference between movies and films, but never really notice the director involved that makes the picture happen. Unless you are an industry critic or contributor like Richard Rauh.
I never knew who this Woody Allen character was before this semester and was simply intrigued. For Christmas, my mother received Midnight in Paris (2011) and was ranting and raving over it and encouraged me to watch it. Since, you know how influential my mom’s movie taste is then you would probably guess that I would heed her advice on this one.
Turns out Woody Allen directed Midnight in Paris and this is the last Allen movie the class will watch. The semester is half way over and my mid-term exam on analyzing Allen’s films turned out really well. Those films include: Bananas (1971), Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Husbands and Wives (1992).
The class surprises me because I saw earlier roles of my favorite actors like Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, John Cusack, and Dianne Wiest. However, Rauh takes it to a deeper level and squeezes as much reasoning out of his students by asking us why we liked or did not like a film. Most of the students give a slight nod or don’t mutter a sound in the class, but Rauh moves along by giving his observations and knowledge to all of us.
It gets better.
Probably the most inspiring aspect of the entire class is the teacher himself. Rauh is an interesting fellow to watch, he laughs at his own jokes, and appears cantankerous, but this harsh facade isn’t real. I noticed a confidence that surrounds him and it’s amusing to witness this quality about him. Today, I understand why I am so fascinated by him.
Rauh told us in class multiple times that he was an actor. But this past week he gave us more details than before. He mentioned that he was featured in the 1999 movie Inspector Gadget that was filmed in Pittsburgh and he was in another called Passed Away (1992).
I had some free time and decided to look up the Inspector Gadget bridge scene on YouTube and this is what I saw!
I was frozen with a grin from ear to ear just thinking that this is my professor teaching me about Woody Allen films and he is right there! I continued to watch more of the scene and it hit me twice as hard in the face as I saw his toupee fly off his head in the next clips.
Discovering this was so exciting that I went to my best friend in the whole world…. Google. I wanted to know if there was more about Mr. Rauh.
The most touching article I found describes a little history of Rauh and his influence in the performing arts circle in Pittsburgh. In April 2011, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Point Park University was honoring Rauh for his continued enthusiasm and support at the Starmakers event.
The Rauh Theatre at the Playhouse is one example of his giving. He also gave his sweat and tears to the Playhouse Film Series of classic movies for 14 years, until it was closed by Point Park in 1994. He has acted on Playhouse stages in numerous productions, including that lauded performance of “Krapp’s Last Tape.”
The roots of Rauh’s dedication lies deeper as involvement with the Playhouse started with his parents.
“It’s kind of like a family event in my life,” Mr. Rauh said of the Starmakers honor. “My father started the thing in 1934. My mother worked there [for 40 years] until 1973. I acted and ran that film series there for 14 years, and now I’m teaching at Point Park, which owns the place. … It’s been an interesting combination of family and business.”
Inspiration sure does come in surprising ways and learning more about my professor as a human being reminds me that life is deeper than the surface. We never know where people come from and to where they might go.
I’d like to encourage you to be curious about your teachers. Wonder about the accomplishments they have stored in their past, because you never know where having a little faith in people can take you.