The 8 PM special screenings — open to the public — at Clearview Cinemas' Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan will be followed by a discussion on the film and its director, presented by film professor and author Foster Hirsch. The picture's director, Otto Preminger, is the subject of a new Hirsch-penned book, "Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would be King," due out from Knopf Oct. 21.
"Porgy and Bess," drawn from the 1935 stage musical (sometimes billed as a folk opera) by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, earned four rather low-profile Academy Award nominations. André Previn and Ken Darby won Oscars for their efforts in the category of Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. It won a 1960 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical.
"The screening of 'Porgy and Bess' at the Ziegfeld Theatre is a unique opportunity to see a great 'lost' film in one of New York's great theatres…," Hirsch said in a statement. "The film to be shown is an original road show print, with overture, intermission music and exit music. It is the only known complete print of the film in the United States."
The picture is based on the musical by George Gershwin, from the novel "Porgy" by DuBose Heyward and the play Porgy by Dorothy and DuBose Heyward. The film was produced by Samuel Goldwyn.
The cast includes Sidney Poitier as Porgy, Dorothy Dandridge as Bess and Sammy Davis, Jr. as Sportin' Life. First released in 1959, "Porgy and Bess" is "set among the African-American residents of a fishing village called Catfish Row in 1912 South Carolina," according to screening notes. "Bess — a woman with a disreputable history — tries to break free from her brutish lover Crown after he becomes wanted for murder. The only person willing to overlook her past and offer her shelter is the crippled Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by the disapproval of the townspeople, the presence of her old drug supplier Sportin' Life, and the threatened return of Crown."
Tickets are on sale now at the Ziegfeld Theatre box office at 141 West 54th Street in New York City and online at www.clearviewcinemas.com.
The print of "Porgy and Bess" comes courtesy of Ken Kramer's The Clip Joint for Film in Burbank, CA.
Foster Hirsch, a film professor at Brooklyn College, is the author of 16 books on film and theatre, including "The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir," "A Method to Their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio" and "Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway."
More information about Hirsch's book can be found at www.aaknopf.com.