DVD review: ‘The Lost World of Mr. Hardy’
An early-day ad for Rolls Royce depicts a pristine new automobile parked outside the Pall Mall shops of Hardy’s of London, purveyors since 1872 of the world’s finest fly fishing tackle.
It was a just measure of brothers William and J.J. Hardy’s family business, its quality craftsmanship and sterling reputation among finicky anglers, that the world’s premiere car manufacturer aspired to be so closely associated with Hardy’s in the public mind.
Tradition, craftsmanship and elegance – the very things that Rolls Royce came to be revered for – were long the defining qualities of Hardy’s fly rods, reels and beautifully hand-dressed salmon and trout flies. The tweedy, old-school world that Hardy’s represented is both celebrated and mourned in “The Lost World of Mr. Hardy,” a lovely feature-length documentary by director Andy Heathcote and his partner Heike Bachelier that charts the ups and downs of the company over its 138 year history.
Just as the sun eventually set on British colonialism, so too did the fortunes of Hardy’s suffer through the loss of empire, the rise of mass manufacturing, the ill winds of war and the fickle fashions of popular sport.
At its peak, the film shows, the family-owned manufacturing and retailing firm employed most of the village of Alnwick in its local plant, and from its shop in Pall Mall sold its elegant, hand-crafted equipment to kings and queens throughout Europe, Indian maharajahs, Canadian industrialists, Argentine cattle barons and discriminating anglers the world over. The Prince of Wales even requested two vintage Hardy fly rods as a wedding present.
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