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Askew Review 15

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(Indican Pictures) Documentary. Black and white. 92 minutes. NR. Milford Beeghly is a man of focus and obsession. What is the subject of Mr. Beeghly’s focus and obsession? Corn. Beeghly has spent his entire life trying to come up with the perfect hybrid of corn to produce the perfect ear, and stalk, of corn. Opening his seed business in Iowa in the 1930’s, Beeghly basically alienated himself from his family to concentrate on and do what many considered to be insane, intervening with the natural process of corn. Through family interviews, old television commercials, and from Mr. Beeghly himself, we learn what it takes to be a man obsessed…with corn.
I know I know, I bet you’re thinking that unless one is a farmer or a huge corn eater, how could one possibly find this documentary anything other than boring? Oddly enough, and although I started this doc expecting a yawner, I actually found myself interested in Mr. Beeghly, and corn. Yes, there are some boring moments that director Monteith McCollum (Beeghly’s grandson) could have edited out to help shorten things down a bit. However, the interesting shooting/camera work and the excessive time lapse photography did help move Hybrid along. McCollum does a great job with turning what could have been a boring documentary into a visual carnival. All of the family interviews basically drove home the same point of how much Beeghly was committed to his corn over everything else. After getting an education about corn (pretty interesting at times to be honest) and listening to the family, Beeghly himself discusses his life, past and present. By the end of the doc, I actually started to dig ol’ Milford. Although, I could have done without watching him go to town on his teeth with a toothpick-yick. Hybrid is interesting in both content and style. Beeghly was ears ahead of his time…sorry, that was corny. – Denis Sheehan



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