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The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold a film by William Wegman. 1995, USA, 25 min. The brilliant photographer directs a cast of detective dogs who appear surreally human.

The third selection in our series “On Photography” is a short film by William Wegman, the wonderful artist and photographer well known for his photographs of his Weimaraner dogs in various costumes and poses. We are happy to present this week a newly restored copy of Wegman’s 1995 film The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold – his take on the detective book series The Hardy Boys, which he loved as a kid in the 1950s. Who better to play detectives on film than hunting dogs? Along with striking frames and great production design, Bill Wegman impressively achieves a 30-minute film with an entirely dog cast who, as in his pictures, appear surreally human.

 

 

“I grew up reading The Hardy Boys stories from the early ’50s. Never as good as the covers, the books with numbingly memorable heroes and villains were a staple of every adolescent boy’s reading in that era. My favorite cover, and because of that, my favorite book, was The Missing Chums. I related to the Hardy Boys because of the danger the boys found themselves in – which was not much, but enough to be fun. Reading the series as a kid, I never imagined that I might one day create my own version of the Hardy Boys. In 1994, with my cast of four Weimaraner stars, I set my mind to work on stories set in Rangeley, Maine. The Hardy Boys become the Hardly Boys in my film Hardly Gold, starring sisters Batty and Crooky. Hardly boys, they are girls and dogs.” WILLIAM WEGMAN

 

The Hardly family arrives at an inn in Maine to participate in leisure activities: golfing, fishing, and canoeing. The trip takes a puzzling turn when the daughters set off to solve the mysterious disappearance of their aunt Gladiola. Wegman further explains the concept: “The premise of The Hardly Boys is that the dogs Crooky and Batty, not unlike Frank and Joe Hardy (the characters they parody), are amateur detectives sniffing out clues using their super dog powers to track down criminals. When these powers are called upon they lose their human elements, hands, uprightness, clothing and turn into dogs.”

 

William Wegman began his career as a painter.  In 1970, he started working on art videos and photographs featuring his first dog Man Ray, who quickly became a star in the art world. Wegman’s work, which includes photography, video, painting and drawing, has been exhibited around the world and is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Centre Pompidou among others. Wegman has created numerous videos, including videos for Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street, which are now available through his YouTube channel. The artist has been commissioned to create images for a wide range of projects including a fashion campaign for Acne, banners for the Metropolitan Opera, and covers for numerous publications such as The New Yorker and Wallpaper. Wegman has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The David Letterman Show, and The Colbert Report. His new book William Wegman: Being Human, featuring a collection of 300 images from the artist’s personal archives, was published in October.

Credits for
THE HARDLY BOYS IN HARDLY GOLD
cast
Batty & Crooky
written by
William Wegman
produced by
Claire Best
executive producer
William Wegman
cinematography
Phillip Holahan
music
Marc De Gil Antoni
editing
Steve Hamilton
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