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“The High and the Mighty” to Take Flight at Academy Salute to John Wayne


Beverly Hills, CA — In a centennial celebration honoring actor, director, producer and American legend John Wayne, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will premiere a new restoration of “The High and the Mighty” (1954), a prototype of the modern airborne disaster film, on Thursday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The program, hosted by veteran journalist Army Archerd, will feature an onstage discussion with Wayne’s daughter-in-law Gretchen Wayne; William Wellman, Jr., son of the film’s director, William Wellman; and actresses Angie Dickinson and Nancy Olsen, both of whom co-starred with Wayne in other films.

“The High and the Mighty” stars Wayne as an experienced but burned-out airline pilot who must save the day when his plane’s engine fails on a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco.

The film’s restoration began in 1992, when the vault containing the negative was flooded and the entire negative soaked. Wayne’s son Michael embarked on the process of reconstructing the film and soundtrack from numerous source materials. Following Michael’s death in 2003, his widow, Gretchen, completed the restoration.

“The High and the Mighty” was shot in CinemaScope under the direction of Academy Award®-nominated director Wellman. Composer Dimitri Tiomkin, who earned 22 Oscar® nominations and four statuettes over his career, won the film’s only Oscar for Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. The film earned two Academy Award nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role (Jan Sterling and Claire Trevor) as well as nominations for Directing (Wellman), Film Editing (Ralph Dawson) and Music – Song (Tiomkin and Ned Washington).

Born Marion Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne appeared in more than 170 films and became known internationally as an iconic American hero through his many Westerns, war films and dramas. He received a Best Actor nomination for “The Sands of Iwo Jima” in 1949 and a Best Picture nomination as producer of “The Alamo” in 1960. At the age of 62, John Wayne won an Oscar for his lead performance as Marshal Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit” (1969).

Tickets to “A Centennial Salute to John Wayne” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. Doors open at 7 p.m. Seats are unreserved. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Complimentary parking is provided in the garages located at 8920 and 9025 Wilshire Boulevard. For additional information, call (310) 247-3600.


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