8306 School Loop Rd
Presque Isle, WI 54557
Historic logging film, Come and Get it, will be screened at the Presque Isle Community Center on June 3rd at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The Oscar winning film is based on Wisconsin author Edna Ferber’s 1934 novel by the same name. It is a fictional account of the early days of logging and of paper making in Wisconsin and Michigan. The film is sponsored by the Presque Isle Community Library, the Northern Waters Genealogical Society, and the Presque Isle Heritage Society.
Northern Waters Genealogical Society member, Tom Jerow, has extensively researched the book and film because of his family’s connection to early logging history. His great uncle and lumber baron William “Big Bill” Bonifas owned and operated mills and logging camps in Winegar (present day Presque Isle), Watersmeet, and Marenisco. “It all started about 10 years ago when a co-worker gave me the book. Parts of the story were vaguely familiar and I started asking family members about the book and sure enough I discovered a connection between the book and the Bonifas family.” Jerow said. His research showed that Ferber visited Hurley, Marenisco, and Bonifas Lodge on Lake Gogebic in 1933 to do research for her book. The visit by Ferber was controversial in its day with local advocates saying Ferber was there to smear the logging industry and Ferber, a jew, claiming she encountered antisemitism. “Despite this controversy the movie has some great scenes depicting life in the logging camps and boom towns of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan. There is one scene depicting a river log-drive that is absolutely mesmerizing to watch.” according to Jerow. The black and white film was released in 1936 and stars Frances Farmer, Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea, and Walter Brennan. Brennan won the first ever best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of Swan Bostrom, an immigrant logging camp foreman. The film is rated “G”.
Tom will facilitate a post film discussion to help separate fact from fiction, talk about his research into the film, the controversy, and the Bonifas rags to riches story.