The Otto Preminger film adaptation of the opera Porgy and Bess, a movie that has been prevented from wide distribution since its initial release in 1959, will be screened twice at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan, Sept. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m.
Starring Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll — all three of whom were dubbed by other singers — Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, and Sammy Davis, Jr., the lavish Todd-AO movie was produced by Samuel Goldwyn, who only owned the rights to the property for 15 years. After the rights reverted to the authors, Ira Gershwin and his wife, Lee, reportedly refused to approve subsequent showings, in part due to their dissatisfaction with Goldwyn and Preminger's decision to remove much of George Gershwin's music in favor of spoken dialogue (Broadway playwright N. Richard Nash contributed the screenplay). The opera premiered on Broadway in 1935. DuBose Heyward wrote the libretto and collaborated on the lyrics with Ira Gershwin.
Following the showings at the Ziegfeld, Foster Hirsch will speak. A film professor at Brooklyn College, Hirsch is the author of the forthcoming book Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King.
Tickets are on sale at the Ziegfeld Theatre, at 141 W. 54th St., and online at www.clearviewcinemas.com.