D. Felton: UMass Classics Dept. had role in movie, too

Published: 08-28-2023 2:56 PM

UMass Classics Dept. had role in movie, too

I enjoyed the article about “The Holdovers” in the Aug. 18 Amherst Bulletin. It was great to see so many local institutions get shoutouts — Deerfield Academy, Northfield Mount Hermon, the Bridge of Flowers, and Boswell’s Books. It was somewhat disappointing, though, that one major local contributor to the film was omitted: the UMass Amherst Department of Classics.

We were contacted by Honest Scholars Production to provide some of the props in the film, most notably the pre-1970 academic books lining the shelves of Paul Giamatti’s character’s office and classroom.

And one of our lecturers, Hans Wietzke, was hired as a consultant and brought on site at Deerfield Academy to provide the Greek writing on the classroom’s chalkboards as well as to fact-check the production’s use of ancient Greek history.

I’m not sure how this information fell through the cracks, but at a time when humanities departments all over the country are struggling to prove their ongoing relevance, it would have been nice to see the UMass Classics Department’s (not inconsiderable) contribution to this film included in the article.

D. Felton

Professor of classics, UMass Amherst