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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Film’s Golden Age

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Listening Room is co-sponsoring a “Pizza and Movie Night,” in honor of the 70th anniversary of 1939, one of the most defining years in Hollywood history.
Maddie Allen ’10, and Rachel Smith ’11, organized the event as part of the Listening Room’s month-long commemoration of Hollywood’s “Golden Year.”
1939 was monumental for Hollywood, with the release of many great classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.” That year, 10 films were nominated for Best Picture, instead of the usual five, with “Gone With the Wind” being the first all-color film—and the longest ever film at three hours and 54 minutes—to win.
“Since the Listening Room’s function is to provide and maintain the video and audio collection for the libraries, we are always looking for projects that will focus on those collections and let the college community be aware of the vast assortment of items available,” said Randye Jones, the Library Assistant in charge of the Listening Room.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary, Allen and Smith collaborated with the SGA to show one of the Best Picture nominees. SGA Films Committee secured the rights necessary for the screening, and SGA Student Activities provided funding for refreshments.
“We were hoping to show “Wizard of Oz.” We thought it could be a fun sort of between-Halloween-and-Fetish activity to do,” Smith said.
The 70th Anniversary edition of “The Wizard of Oz” is being released this year, barring the Listening Room from acquiring the rights to show it. Instead, they will show “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” starring James Stewart as an idealistic, small town senator who must fend off ruthless politicians out to destroy him. The film was controversial in its time, but was a box office hit, and cemented James Stewart as a major movie star.
Listening Room assistants also put together a number of posters, on display in Burling, with information about movies of that year, including ones that pushed the boundaries of the era’s strict censorship code, and early use of color in motion pictures.
“These films weren’t only good films in terms of Hollywood blockbusters, but in terms of technology and content matter they were also pretty progressive,” Allen said.
The Listening Room’s showing will serve not just as a break from the stresses of these last few weeks of the semester, but also as a celebration of film’s—even Hollywood films’—ability to challenge our social assumptions.

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