The Passion of Collecting by Bob Edison

Today, you are welcomed to the Frankart Gallery with a movie recommendation. The title is "Utz" and though it was released in 1992, this unique flick perfectly conveys a true collector's feelings….It really doesn't matter what you collect - it can be Frankart, piano stools, fountain pens, horse saddles or (as in the movie) Meissen figurines. The point being, it's not the article that's the object of your affection; it's the passion with which it's sought and displayed.

In this film, which stars Armin Mueller-Stahl, Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker (amazingly sans her Irish brogue), Peter Riegert and Paul Scofield, the gifted Stahl portrays a man living in an Eastern-bloc country who develops a life-long passion for collecting. Through a series of dramatic circumstances, the entire collection suddenly "disappears" and the denouement - revealing what actually happened to his valuable works of art - is a stunner. In between revelations, this little-known movie accurately conveys the thrill of amassing a collection, and the specialness of each and every person's fixation on a particular object and filling his or her life with as many prime examples as possible. Some reviewers completely missed the point of this movie (which was dubbed "Of Meissen Men" by at least one appreciator) by assuming that the point was the futility of material possessions as opposed to the spiritual approach. Of course, this is completely out of kilter with the film-makers' intent, which was to tell a spellbinding story, one theme of which is the universality of the collecting spirit. No matter what turns you on, go for it!
We're reminded, also, of an interview on a cable TV channel where the wife of an esteemed collector of pocket watches was asked by the interviewer what her hobbies were. Fixing the hapless man with a steely gaze, she responded, "My dear fellow. I don't have hobbies. I have PASSIONS!"

Bob Edison passed away in 2003. He was a contributor to many major publications. He was an avid movie/ theatre buff and a collector of fine vintage fountain pens. He will always be missed.

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