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Dryden Theatre follows American movie master Victor Fleming down the yellow brick road

Series features The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Treasure Island

Rochester, N.Y., March 2, 2009 —The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House pays tribute to director Victor Fleming, the consummate studio craftsman behind nearly 50 films, including two of the most celebrated films in motion picture history — Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. This year marks the 70th anniversary for these Technicolor® triumphs, which will be screened as part of a film series in March and April dedicated to Fleming’s filmmaking.

Fleming began as a cameraman and eventually became a director on early action-comedies of Douglas Fairbanks. Fleming is not widely credited as director of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind because he was brought on while the films were already in production. Still, Fleming was responsible for a majority of what is shown on the screen. His work with Fairbanks, and later Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, helped Fleming — a big-game hunter, adventurer, and all-around “man’s man” — establish what is today a very familiar type of tough, but chivalrous big-screen masculinity. 

“He was not someone who disguised the same themes and obsessions in every one of his movies,” said Jim Healy, Eastman House’s assistant curator of motion pictures. “But rather, he had a talent for reinventing himself with each picture and possessed an uncanny knack for making films that audiences wanted to see.” 

The series will begin with a “Bad Girls Double Feature” starring Clara Bow in Mantrap (March 8) and Jean Harlow inReckless (March 8). The all-time family fantasy classic The Wizard of Oz (March 15) will have two showings, starring Judy Garland as she travels from Kansas via a twister to a fantasy dreamland. 

Fleming’s literary adaptations of Captains Courageous (March 22), Treasure Island (April 7), and Tortilla Flat (April 14) will also screen at the Dryden. Captains Courageous earned Spencer Tracy an Oscar® for his portrayal of a Portuguese fisherman who helps a young spoiled boy learn a much different way of life than.

Fleming’s trademark style of blending action with humor and fantasy culminated in A Guy Named Joe (April 21). In Tracy and Fleming’s final collaboration, Tracy stars as a dead bomber- pilot who comes back as a guardian angel to protect other pilots. 

On Tuesday, April 7, film critic Michael Sragow will appear in person to introduce Fleming’s Lord Jim, an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel following the life of a disgraced sailor attempting to make a home among native on an Indonesian archipelago. Sragow is the author of the new biography Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master and willdiscuss Fleming’s life and career.

Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh bring the romance and drama of the Civil War to the 21st century in Fleming’s Gone With the Wind (April 18 & April 19). Sparks will fly when Red Dust (April 26) and Bombshell (April 26) share the screen for a “Jean Harlow Double Feature.” Of the many directors with whom Harlow worked, Fleming is credited for giving the legendary blonde her juiciest role. 

The series at the Dryden will close with Fleming’s final film Joan of Arc (April 28) starring Ingrid Bergman in her acclaimed performance as the Maid of Orleans. The Fleming series will ultimately culminate on Sunday, May 3, as the Eastman House and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra present “Cinematic Symphony: Oz and Beyond,’ which will feature a screening of The Wizard of Oz with live orchestral accompaniment. For more information about “Cinematic Symphony,” please visit www.rpo.org.

The films of Victor Fleming:

Sunday, March 8 “Bad Girls Double Feature”

7 p.m. MANTRAP (US 1926, 68 min.)
8:30 p.m. RECKLESS (US 1932, 96 min.)

2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Sunday, March 15: THE WIZARD OF OZ (US 1939, 101 min.)
7 p.m. Sunday, March 22: CAPTAINS COURAEOUS (US 1936, 116 min.)
7 p.m. Sunday, April 5: TREASURE ISLAND (US 1934, 105 min.)
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7: LORD JIM (US 1925, 75 min.)
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 14: TORTILLA FLAT (US 1942, 105 min.)
7 p.m. Saturday, April 18 & 2 p.m. Sunday, April 19 GONE WITH THE WIND (US 1943, 222 min.)
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 21: A GUY NAMED JOE (US 1943, 120 min., 16 mm)
Sunday, April 26 “Jean Harlow Double Feature”

7 p.m. RED DUST (US 1932, 83 min., 16 mm)
8:30 p.m. BOMBSHELL (US 1933, 96 min., 16mm)

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28: JOAN OF ARC (US 1948, 145 min.)
3 p.m. Sunday, May 3 THE WIZARD OF OZ

with live orchestral accompaniment, presented by Eastman House and RPO. 
For more information, please visit www.rpo.org

Admission to each film (with the exception of the May 3 event) is $7 general admission and $5 students and members. For more information and complete film descriptions visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org