The six-film Ohio Wesleyan University course being taught at the Strand Theatre in downtown Delaware is nearing its completion after Monday’s screening of “All the President’s Men.”
Tracey Peyton, managing director of The Strand and one of the course’s instructors, said Monday’s film was the fourth in a series of six that are being screened and discussed as part of OWU’s Lifelong Learning Initiative program, “Academy Award-Winning Films and the Backstories They Tell.”
Peyton said the series focuses on six Academy Award nominated films and began with 1935’s “Mutiny on the Bounty.” She added the other films in the series include 1952’s “High Noon,” 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” 1976’s “All the President’s Men,” 1995’s “Toy Story,” and 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.”
According to Peyton, the idea of the course is to give a very broad overview of critically acclaimed films that can be used as a catalyst to discuss other aspects of film and Hollywood. For example, Peyton said “Mutiny on the Bounty” was instrumental in the creation of the supporting actor category after three of the five nominees for the 1936 Academy Awards were from that film.
“There have been 554 films that have been nominated for best picture, so to narrow it down to six was really difficult,” she said. “The movies had to meet a certain criteria. We also tried to space them 15 years apart. We tried to pick a significance to Hollywood or pop culture.”
Peyton and The Strand’s projectionist, Peyton Ennis, introduce each film and deliver lectures about film history before some of the shorter films.
“I’d like for people to see how film has evolved over 100 years,” Ennis said after Monday’s class.
After the showing of “All the President’s Men,” Peyton and Ennis discussed the making of the film, its pacing, and how its themes still apply today.
“It holds up,” Peyton said. “It’s a common topic. One gentleman said, ‘What happened back then is still going on.’”
Peyton added she’s enjoyed showing the films and hopes to do more classes and film series in the future.
“We throw some knowledge on them and want them to be able to pass on some knowledge to others, and we want them to think about things,” Peyton said, adding she has enjoyed learning how each film was made and sharing that with those enrolled in the course.
“It’s neat to learn about that kind of stuff,” she said. “We have things in the works…”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.