For the Daily News
Starkville Community Theatre and Starkville Reads will screen the World War II documentary, âPrelude to Warâ (1942), followed by a post-film discussion on Thursday (Nov. 18) at 7 p.m. at SCTâs Playhouse on Main.
The film is the first of a 7-film series, Why We Fightâ; it is directed by renowned director Frank Capra. The filmâs music features the work of Dmitiri Tiomkin. The narrative voice is film star Walter Huston. All three are Oscar winners, as is the film.
âThursday nightâs program marks the fourth time that SCT and Starkville Reads have co-sponsored the concluding event of an SR season. The three previous events were âCivil War Sketches,â âThe People v. the Small Townâ and âUnder Polaris,â which were Readerâs Theatre productions based on the book texts that SR had adopted,â SCT president Alison Stamps said.
Former SCT board member Clyde Williams will begin Thursdayâs program with a brief introduction to the pictureâs historical context and the film techniques that Capra used.
âMillions of Americans saw âPrelude to War.â Produced, like the other films in the âWhy We Fightâ series, under the auspices of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, and the Office of War Information, the picture became a part of the militaryâs training program for inductees and volunteers during the first year of U. S. engagement in the war. Equally important, though, is that it was screened in thousands of movie theatres across the nationâfrom Times Square in New York to Elko, Nevada,â Williams said.
Both through its summer musical revues and the production of such plays as âThe Cover of Lifeâ (Spring 2008) and âSilent Snowâ this fall, SCT âhas consistently focused on historical and human events that have shaped our country,â Stamps said.
âFilms such as âPrelude to Warâ are an important poart of World War II history. SCT is delighted to collaborate with Shtarkville Reads in what promises to be another important and exciting program,â Stamps said.
Williams, a retired MSU faculty member, completed post-doctoral study in documentary film at the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1980 and in feature commercial film at the Directorâs Guild of AmericaâWest in Hollywood in 1996, where he worked with Oscar-winning director Robert Wise (âWest Side Storyâ), among others.
ââPrelude to Warâ is an amazing piece of work,â he said. âIt is visually powerful, and its message is clear, emphatic, and delivered by some of the most skilled and creative people in the history of movies.â
Like all SR programs, Thursdayâs SCT/SR screening is free and open to the public. Veterans from all branches of the U. S. military, MSU and SHS ROTC cadets, are especially invited to attend and to participate in a discussion following the screening.
EDITORâS NOTE: Some war scenes in this movie may not be appropriate for young children.View more articles in: