Pioneer of movie critiques boosted Canadian cinema

Gerald Pratley, a pioneer in the field of film criticism in Canada, has died at the age 87 in Sterling, wrote The Globe and Mail March 15 in an obituary.

Born in England in 1923, Pratley came to Canada at 23 and found work as a CBC scriptwriter. Two years later, he became the public broadcaster’s first film critic and commentator.

For many years, he broadcast three programs a week – “Pratley at the Movies”, “The Movie Scene” and “Music From the Films”. He became the first post-war chair of the Toronto Film Society, chair of the Toronto and District Film Council, and co-founder of the A-G-E Film Society, as well as a correspondent for such international magazines as Films and Filming, Film In Review, Variety, Hollywood Quarterly and International Film Guide. During the 1950s, he also wrote for Canadian Film Weekly and Canadian Film Digest.

From 1970 to 1975, he was the director of the Stratford International Film Festival, and from 1969 to 1976 served as chair of the International Jury of the Canadian Film Awards.

Pratley produced six books on the cinema, including analyses of the films of John Frankenheimer, Otto Preminger, David Lean and John Huston, as well as Torn sprockets: the uncertain projection of the Canadian film. Later, he taught film history at York University, the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Seneca College and Ryerson University, and lectured at numerous other colleges in Canada and the United States.

Larry Zolf revelled in irreverence

Veteran Canadian journalist and political commentator Larry Zolf died Monday at the age of 76, wrote the Toronto Star March 15. He…studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School and then switched to history, but didn’t finish his degree in either subject.

Fine arts grad appears in production by New York’s 24/6

Etta Abramson [BA Spec. Hons. ’07] (Nora) is a performer and educator, wrote March 14, in a story about a new production of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House by New York’s 24/6: A Jewish Theatre Company.

Abramson also teaches students of all ages Jewish texts at Beit Rabban, Drisha Institute and as a private teacher. She is also the program coordinator of Storahtelling’s Raising the Bar B’nai Mitzvah program. Abramson studied classical voice with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and completed a BA in theatre at York University [Faculty of Arts].

On air

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor and director of the international business concentration in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the effects of the earthquake/tsunami on Japan’s economy, on CBC Radio International’s “The Link” March 14.
  • Mitchell Bernard, a consultant on Asian business and professor emeritus in the Schulich School of Business at York University, also spoke about the effects of the disaster in Japan, on BNN-TV’s “Business Day Morning” March 14.