The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, April 6 (7:30 pm)
The Fighting 69th (Warner Bros., 1940)
Two years after they appeared together in “Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938), James Cagney and Pat O’Brien were again cast, respectively, as a cocky troublemaker and the clergyman who tries to bring him back into the fold. In The Fighting 69th, directed by William Keighley, the two go head-to-head on the battlefields of France during World War I, where Jerry Plunkett (Cagney), an arrogant braggart who refuses to follow orders, is court-martialed when his cowardice in battle causes the deaths of his fellow soldiers. O’Brien plays Francis P. Duffy (1871-1932), who served as chaplain for the 69th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the New York Army National Guard composed primarily of Irish immigrants from New York City. Two additional members of the original regiment portrayed in the film are William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan (1883-1959), a decorated World War I veteran and head of the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War, and journalist and poet Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), killed by sniper fire in the Second Battle of the Marne. Also on the program is the 1934 Vitaphone short Tin Hat Harmony, starring Abe Lyman and his Orchestra.
Friday, April 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Sergeant York (Warner Bros., 1941)
Gary Cooper, in one of his favorite roles, won his first Oscar for his dead-on portrayal of Tennessee pacifist Sgt. Alvin York who, in an Argonne Forest World War I battle, single-handedly captured more than 130 German soldiers. A stirring bit of Americana, which appeared six months before America entered World War II as a nation and inspired Americans through the later conflict, Sergeant York contains three main segments all masterfully directed by Howard Hawks: York’s life in Tennessee, the war scenes, and post-war scenes in New York City, where his newfound fame briefly tempts York not to return to his Tennessee home. The film was added to The National Film Registry in 2008.
Saturday, April 8 (7:30 p.m.)
What Price Glory? (20th Century-Fox, 1952)
James Cagney stars as Captain Flagg with Dan Dailey as his nemesis Sergeant Quirt, American doughboys in France who both fall in love with the innkeeper’s daughter (Corinne Calvet). John Ford helmed this Technicolor World War I comedy-drama based on the Broadway play by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. The play was previously adapted for film in 1926 with Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe in the leading roles. The supporting cast includes William Demarest and Robert Wagner.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.