By April Ebbert
As the 24th of July approaches, BYU is preparing to honor the state”s pioneer heritage with a showing of the 1940”s film “Brigham Young.”
The film will be shown in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium on Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m.
“”Brigham Young” is a time capsule. It was the first positive portrayal of Latter-day Saints following more than two decades of stereotypical depictions in movies of Mormons as misfits in America,” said James D”Arc, director of the film series in a news release.
The film depicts the persecution of members of The Church in Nauvoo and commemorates the 1847 arrival of an advance group of LDS pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley.
The film also highlights the determination of the pioneers.
“Darryl Zanuck caught the spirit of these intrepid builders of a new world,” said the LIFE movie review.
Philip Scheur, a reviewer for The Los Angeles Times, wrote about the film from the perspective of someone outside the conflict.
“All this happened but a century ago. Yet many of us, pausing to take stock at the close of ”Brigham Young” may well find ourselves asking, ”Can such things have been? Did we do this?””
The movie premiered in 1940 at seven sold-out Salt Lake City movie theaters.
According to D”Arc, who curates the library”s special collections motion picture archives, this remains a world record for the number of theaters utilized for the premier of a single movie.
The movie was once a staple of Utah television showings during the week of Pioneer Day celebrations, but it has not been telecast in more than 25 years, D”Arc said.
As part of the evening”s festivities, there will also be a screening of a rare Fox Movietone newsreel, showing the 1940 premiere festivities in Salt Lake City.