Rare presentation of ‘Smoky’ to screen at the BYU library

“Smoky” will be shown in the BYU library auditorium. (Special Collections Arts and Communication Archive)

The 1946 Technicolor western film “Smoky” will be showing in the auditorium of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Children ages eight and over are welcome and anyone in the community can see the film.

The film is about a drifter, played by Fred MacMurray, who befriends a stallion and develops a bond with it only to have the horse taken away from him. The horse is then mistreated by his new owners.

This will be the second time the film has been chosen for the BYU Motion Picture Archive Film Series, which is now in its 18th season. The film was first screened in 2005 for the Filmed in Utah tribute.

Curator of the BYU Motion Picture Archive James D’ Arc  has been working as a curator for BYU for almost 42 years and will be introducing the film and hosting the event.

D’Arc said the film is a “superbly” made motion picture. Its filming locations included Cedar Breaks, Zion National Park and in Kane County near Kanab.

“The pacing of a film, the use of close-ups and photographing landscapes is different for the big screen as seen by an audience, as opposed to a few people watching a program on a small television screen, an iPad, or on a cell phone,” D’Arc said.

D’Arc said there have been many requests for the film and decided to include it in the series. The showing of the film is a “rare screening” because the movie has never been available on home video.

“The Film Series is one of but a handful of opportunities available in the United States to see classic American films in their proper setting,” D’Arc said.

Gordon Daines, the supervisor of Reference Services and Department Chair of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, said the film series can help people understand and promote the Special Collections.

“The film series is to show what we have in terms of our collections and to provide an  experience that they might not have elsewhere,” Daines said. “It’s a real movie theater experience for movies that most people have seen streaming online, if they have seen it at all, and its part of our promotional outreach activity.”

Daniel Watts, a junior study sociocultural anthropology, works at the reference desk at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections and has ushered one of the films.

“This series is a way to promote classic films to show an appreciation for films that are not only classic but iconic,” Watts said. “It allows (people) the opportunity to explore classic films but also history through the use of film. It shows people how history is interactive today.”

For more information, visit the L. Tom Perry Special Collections’ website.

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