The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Friday, December 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Air Force (Warner Bros., 1943)
Made at the height of World War II, this epic account of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor focuses on the personal dramas of the crew of an Air Force B-17 bomber that arrives in the aftermath of the bombing and is sent to Wake Island and then Clark Field to help with the defense of the Philippines. Directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Garfield, John Ridgely, Gig Young, Arthur Kennedy, and Harry Carey, the film won an Oscar for Best Editing and garnered three other nominations–for Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Special Effects. While Air Force struck a chord with the public for voicing some of the emotional issues that many Americans felt at the time, including fears of Japanese Americans, they also responded to the overriding theme of the importance of teamwork and collective responsibility in winning a war.
Saturday, December 3 (2 p.m.)
From Here to Eternity (Columbia, 1953)
Daniel Taradash earned an Oscar for his adaptation of James Jones unadaptable, explicitly gritty best-selling novel set in Hawaii just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Director Fred Zinnemann translated the Taradash script into a lavish, star-studded blockbuster that won him and the picture Academy Awards. This epic features Montgomery Clift as a soldier who boxes and bugles with equal skill; Donna Reed as a nightclub hostess with whom Clift falls in love; and Frank Sinatra, whose faltering career was rejuvenated with an Oscar for his performance as a wisecracking enlisted man at odds with a bullying sergeant played by Ernest Borgnine. At the center of the ensemble is Burt Lancaster as a sergeant involved in a torrid affair with his commander’s wife, Deborah Kerr, their romance culminating in the famous lovemaking scene on the beach. From Here to Eternity won a total of eight Academy Awards and was added to the National Film Registry in 2002.
Saturday, December 3 (7:30 p.m.)
They Were Expendable (MGM, 1945)
John Ford directed this true story of a US Navy squadron of PT boats who fought a rear guard action against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in the months after Pearl Harbor. John Wayne and Robert Montgomery star as the Navy lieutenants in charge of the mission with Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond and Marshall Thompson in supporting roles. Film critic Leonard Maltin calls They Were Expendable, “One of the finest (and most underrated) of all WW2 films–a moving, exquisitely detailed production.” Film historian Lou Sabini, author of Behind the Scenes of They Were Expendable: A Pictorial History, which features a collection of photos by US Navy photographer Nick Scutti, will introduce the film.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.