MUMBAI: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Monday Nights with Oscar program will present a special afternoon screening of King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis on 21 January at the Academy Theater in New York City. Nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category, King uses no narration but only speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and dramatic readings that thematically bridge the sequences of actuality footage. Richard Kaplan, the film’s associate producer, will participate in a pre-screening discussion.
In the 79-year history of the Academy Awards, only three Awards ceremonies have been postponed. One of those instances followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April, 1968. Nearly two years later, on 24 March, 1970, King premiered as a one-time screening event to benefit the Martin Luther King Jr. Special Fund. Conceived by producer Ely Landau with associate producer Richard Kaplan, the visual content of the three-hour documentary consists only of newsreel and other period footage, from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 through the assassination of the civil rights leader in 1968.Sidney Lumet and Joseph Mankiewicz directed the performances of luminaries such as Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Clarence Williams III and Joanne Woodward. In the years since its benefit premiere, King was shortened for occasional television broadcast and a videocassette release. This special afternoon presentation in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day returns the original full-length theatrical version to the big screen. The rare print is from the collection of the Academy Film Archive. Monday Nights with Oscar is a monthly series showcasing high-quality prints of films that have been nominated for or won Academy Awards.