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"Friendmaker" film "Brigham Young" from 1940 to be shown

The Twentieth Century Fox epic drama “Brigham Young,” starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell, will be shown Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium at Brigham Young University.

The newsreel footage of the massive premiere parade, which took place in Salt Lake City, will also be shown, along with comments about the film by President Heber J. Grant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Children 8 years and older are welcome. No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium.

This 1940 film, produced by studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck, was the culmination of nearly two years of work and was one of the biggest-budgeted movies made by Twentieth Century Fox at that time. Directed by Henry Hathaway, “Brigham Young” also stars Vincent Price as Joseph Smith and Dean Jagger as Brigham Young. Veteran character actor John Carradine plays the part of Porter Rockwell.

Officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consulted with Fox studio executives during the production of “Brigham Young.” Church president Heber J. Grant declared the film “a friendmaker,” reversing nearly 35 years of negative portrayals of Mormons in commercial motion pictures. Newspapers of the day hailed “Brigham Young” as a motion picture triumph in its plea for religious tolerance.

James D’Arc, curator of the Motion Picture Archives at BYU’s L. Tom Perry Special Collections, will provide background information on the making of “Brigham Young” prior to the film.

This showing of “Brigham Young” is the second in a series of three screenings celebrating “Mormonism in the Movies: The First 100 Years” that is part of the ongoing Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series. The series is sponsored by the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, the Friends of the Harold B. Lee Library and Dennis and Linda Gibson.

Writer: Brian Rust

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