The rarely shown film, which will inaugurate the museum's new monthly series Black Light: Films from the African Diaspora film series, was directed by Otto Preminger and received four Academy Award nominations but has long been unavailable to the public. Porgy and Bess will be shown at the museum in its only existing 35mm print, widescreen and in Technicolor, with its original magnetic-track stereo sound.
With music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Heyward and Ira Gershwin, based on the play Porgy by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, Porgy and Bess premiered on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon) in 1935. Though the original production ran for only 124 peformances, the work has since become a classic, frequently presented in opera houses and theaters around the world. For Preminger's film version, the singing voices of Porgy and Bess -- played on screen by Poitier and Dandridge -- were dubbed by Robert McFerrin and Adele Addison.
The 138-minute film will be screened at 3pm and 6:30pm on May 14 and 15 at MMI. Noted black film historian Donald Bogle, whose books include a biography of Dorothy Dandridge and the recently published Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood, will introduce the 3pm screening on Saturday, May 14. For more information, phone 718-784-0077 or click here.