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Porgy and Bess (24-Jun-1959)

Director: Otto Preminger

Writer: N. Richard Nash

From a play: Porgy by Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward

Keywords: Musical

Folk opera set 1912 in Catfish Row, Charleston, South Carolina, featuring the top echelon of the period's black actors. Porgy loves Bess, a women who repeatedly makes very poor decisions regarding men. Sidney Poitier initially refused participation, but relented as the studio would have deprived him of key roles in other films, notably The Defiant Ones. The actors collectively insisted the caricature dialect in Nash's script not be used. Winner of the Oscars for Best Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Sound Recording.

For many years Porgy and Bess was unavailable for viewing. Rights were not purchased outright by the producers; it was instead leased for a period of 15 years. After that time, the Gershwin estate refused to relicense or even permit screenings, and went to far as to acquire and destroy as many prints as it could obtain.

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