Wood-and-canvas canoes on screen (and DeNiro too…)

The March/April issue of WoodenBoat is not the first place I might turn for movie previews, but it turns out there is a movie coming out in late this year called “The Good Shepherd” that has an impressive cast: three wooden-and-canvas Old Town canoes and an Adirondack Guideboat. That’s talent, if you ask me (apparently it also has Damon, DeNiro, Jolie, Pesci, A. Baldwin, W. Hurt, and several other known names, if you have a more conventional view of cinema). All were restored by Mason Smith of Adirondack Goodboat for use in the film. Apparently they are effectively extras but it was a nice deal for Mr. Mason – and for the boats. I wonder which one will bring home the “Best Use of Restored Classic Boat” Oscar.

Mason Smith Adirondack Guideboat restoration

While we are on the subject, it seems as good a time as any to discuss the Adirondack Guideboat, that venerable craft of far upstate. If I may go from cinema to popular music, I feel, and have always felt, about the Guideboat as I do about The Beatles. Important? Absolutely? Talented? No doubt. Deserving of long-term praise? Sure. On heavy rotation on my iTunes? Not a chance. I just don’t enjoy listening to The Beatles and I have never liked the traditional guideboat lines. The high ends and tumblehome stems have never looked right to me, no matter what artistry of cedar and oak is holding the package together. I actually have never been able to take one for a spin, but I am sure they row great – they have to much esteem not to. I think I’ll drop more oars elsewhere, though. Sorry, to the ‘dacks crowd.

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