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UNCSA’s Big Screen film series is sure to chase away the summertime blues

by Mark Burger

This summer, the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and the School of Filmmaking at the UNCSA School of the Arts will again join forces to present The Big Screen: Treasures From the UNCSA Moving Picture Archives, a special selection of feature films that will be screened in the Main Theatre of the ACE Exhibition Complex, located on the main campus (1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem).

The Big Screen series was first launched last year and proved so popular with moviegoers that a follow-up was inevitable.

The UNCSA Moving Picture Archives is one of the largest non-commercial collection of feature films in the entire nation. As a result, the film students have unparalleled access to original theatrical prints of the films they study. The Moving Image Archives is truly one of UNCSA’s crown jewels, and now the public can share in its magnitude, thanks to this series and other special screenings.

The Big Screen series will open Saturday, June 25, with Yves Robert’s award-winning 1963 French classic The War of the Buttons (la guerre des boutons), based on the novel by Louis Pergaud. One of the biggest box-office hits in France in its day, the film depicts the ongoing (and escalating) rivalry between two gangs of teenage schoolboys.

The cast includes Jacques Dufilho, Yvette Etievant, Michel Galabru and Michele Meritz. The film will be shown in French with English subtitles.

The next offering will be Saturday, July 16: The classic 1962 Hollywood musical The Music Man, directed by Morton Da Costa and based on Meredith Willson’s immensely popular 1957 Broadway musical, which won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Robert Preston, who also took home a Tony Award for the Broadway production, reprises the role that would become his most enduring, that of fast-talking, fleet-footed con man “Professor” Harold Hill, who comes to the picturesque town of River City, Iowa, and immediately begins to regale the townspeople with promises of starting a big band comprised of River City’s youngsters. Only the staid librarian Marian (played by Shirley Jones) sees through his charade… but is that enough to prevent her from falling in love with him?

The cast also includes Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford, Pert Kelton, Mary Wickes and a young Ron Howard, billed as “Ronny Howard” and still going strong on television in “The Andy Griffith Show.”

The Music Man won the Academy Award for Best Musical Score (adaptation) and earned five additional nominations: Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Costume Design (color) and Best Sound. Many were incredulous that Preston didn’t score a nomination as Best Actor, but the film became one of Warner Bros.’ biggest box-office hits that year.

The series will conclude Saturday, Aug. 20, with Michael Mann’s 1992 adaptation of the James Fennimore Cooper classic The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the fearless trapper Hawkeye, who becomes embroiled on the ongoing hostilities between British and French forces in colonial America.

The film, much of which was shot in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, features Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Wes Studi, Jodhi May, Maurice Roeves, Terry Kinney and Pete Postlethwaite. It was a surprise box-office hit and won the Oscar for Best Sound. This film is rated R for violence.

All films will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $8 (general admission), $2 (UNCSA students with valid ID). All ticket proceeds will benefit the UNCSA School of Filmmaking scholarship program, so you’re getting a good show and helping a good cause, to boot.

Tickets will be sold at the door only, beginning one hour before showtime. For more information, call 336.722.0030 or visit www.kenanarts.org.

For more information about the other many goings-on at UNCSA, the official website is www.uncsa.edu.

Speaking of classic movies, Sony Masterworks has reissued seven soundtracks from its popular Classic Film Scores series.

During the 1970s, the series introduced an entirely new generation of movie fans to the orchestral scores of Hollywood classics. Now, again paying tribute to Hollywood’s “golden age,” Sony Masterworks has made available:

• Bernard Herrmann’s score for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941), for which Herrmann received an Oscar nomination.

• Franz Waxman’s Oscar-winning score for Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950).

• Erich Wolfgang Kornold’s Oscar-nominated score for Michael Curtiz’s 1939 historical drama The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, which starred Bette Davis and Errol Flynn in the title roles.

• Max Steiner’s Oscar-winning score for Now, Voyager (1942), which starred Davis and Paul Henreid.

• Miklos Rosza’s Oscar-winning score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945), which starred Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.

Classic Film Scores for Bette Davis, which includes selections from such Davis favorites as The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Jezebel, Beyond the Forest, Mr. Skeffington, Now, Voyager and others.

The Film Scores of David Raksin, a collection devoted to the works of “the Grandfather of Film Scores,” including his unforgettable (but un-nominated) score for Otto Preminger’s Laura (1945) and his Oscar-nominated score for Forever Amber (1947).

All of these are available on CD and via major digital service providers. For more information, the official website is: www.SonyMasterworks.com.

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