For the Daily News
Starkville Community Theatre and Starkville Reads will screen the World War II documentary, “Prelude to War” (1942), followed by a post-film discussion on Thursday (Nov. 18) at 7 p.m. at SCT’s Playhouse on Main.
The film is the first of a 7-film series, Why We Fight”; it is directed by renowned director Frank Capra. The film’s music features the work of Dmitiri Tiomkin. The narrative voice is film star Walter Huston. All three are Oscar winners, as is the film.
“Thursday night’s 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 “Civil War Sketches,” “The People v. the Small Town” and “Under Polaris,” which were Reader’s Theatre productions based on the book texts that SR had adopted,” SCT president Alison Stamps said.
Former SCT board member Clyde Williams will begin Thursday’s program with a brief introduction to the picture’s historical context and the film techniques that Capra used.
“Millions of Americans saw ‘Prelude to War.’ Produced, like the other films in the “Why We Fight” series, under the auspices of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, and the Office of War Information, the picture became a part of the military’s 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 nation–from Times Square in New York to Elko, Nevada,” Williams said.
Both through its summer musical revues and the production of such plays as “The Cover of Life” (Spring 2008) and “Silent Snow” this fall, SCT “has consistently focused on historical and human events that have shaped our country,” Stamps said.
“Films such as ‘Prelude to War’ 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,” 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 Director’s Guild of America–West in Hollywood in 1996, where he worked with Oscar-winning director Robert Wise (“West Side Story”), among others.
“‘Prelude to War’ is an amazing piece of work,” he said. “It 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.”
Like all SR programs, Thursday’s 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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Some war scenes in this movie may not be appropriate for young children.