Ray Bradbury, one of the best known science-fiction and fantasy writers of our time, will be the focus of a special four-day film series at IU Cinema on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus beginning March 24.
“Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is intended as an exploration and celebration of his works on screen. The series, which includes lectures and panel discussions, was programmed by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
In addition to being the author of such enduring books as “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Dandelion Wine” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Bradbury was a successful screenwriter whose works were also adapted for film and television by other writers.
IU Cinema, an internationally recognized center for the study, presentation and preservation of film, will offer the following events:
- 7 p.m. March 24, “Bradbury TV and Shorts Program” — The series kicks off with a unique gathering of short subjects, including the 1962 Oscar-nominated “Icarus Montgolfier Wright,” scripted by Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson. This animated film showcases paintings by Joseph Mugnaini, the illustrator closely associated with Bradbury’s books. Other short items include Bradbury stories adapted for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone.”
- 7 p.m. March 26, “It Came From Outer Space” — Bradbury fans and scholars will have the opportunity to view the 1953 feature film based on an original Bradbury concept and screen treatment. Paper optic glasses will allow the audience to watch the film in 3-D — a unique opportunity to see this classic Jack Arnold-directed film as it was originally intended.
- 6:30 p.m. March 27, “A Sound of Different Drummers” and 9:30 p.m. March 27, “Fahrenheit 451” — This double bill showcases two adaptations of Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The evening begins with “A Sound of Different Drummers,” an uncredited television adaptation of Bradbury’s novel for the 1957 season of “Playhouse 90,” followed by a screening of the well-known 1966 film adaptation by François Truffaut. The intermission will include a panel discussion of the fascinating history surrounding these two landmark productions. Separate tickets are required for each film.
- 3 p.m. March 28, “Moby Dick” — On its final day, the series closes with two films that showcase the broad range of Bradbury’s own screenwriting talents. The first is John Huston’s 1956 production of the classic novel, which was an early success that secured Bradbury’s Hollywood reputation. A panel discussion will be held following this film and before the evening screening of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
- 6:30 p.m. March 28, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” — Directed by Jack Clayton, this is the result of a 30-year arc of creativity that transformed an original Bradbury short story into a script, a novel and finally a successful film production.
IU Cinema director Jon Vickers has worked closely with Bradbury Center director Jonathan Eller and the center’s senior advisor, Phil Nichols, to develop the program for the Bradbury film series.
“Every session has fascinating cultural connections,” said Eller, an IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor who is also the editor of Bradbury’s early collected stories and the author of two Bradbury biographies. “The Academy Award-nominated ‘Icarus Montgolfier Wright,’ a story of our quest to reach the moon, was screened in the Kennedy White House just as those dreams were beginning to move toward reality.”
The Bradbury Center has preserved Bradbury’s master 35mm reel of that animated film, along with thousands of other Bradbury artifacts, books and papers.
“The highlight of the week may be the chance on Friday to view John Frankenheimer’s masterful direction of ‘A Sound of Different Drummers’ as a prelude to the screening of Truffaut’s adaptation of ‘Fahrenheit 451,'” Eller said. “The uncredited ‘Playhouse 90’ adaptation led to legal actions and appeals that Bradbury eventually won, but these events are outweighed by the unique opportunity to compare the Truffaut film with Frankenheimer’s seldom-seen television precursor. Frankenheimer was not involved in the legal actions, and his acknowledged mastery of television drama would soon translate into a major Hollywood film career.”
“These screenings offer the first curated overview of Bradbury’s legacy in film and television,” said Nichols, a well-known Bradbury media scholar on the Faculty of Arts at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. “Selecting the films for this event has been a challenge, because of the range and diversity of Bradbury’s work.”
In discussion panels March 27 and 28, Nichols will reveal some of the findings from his research among the papers in the Bradbury Center.
All “Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for IU Cinema film screenings. Due to expected demand and limited seating, tickets should be secured in advance.
Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order. If seats remain, tickets also will be available in the IU Cinema lobby 60 minutes before each screening.
“Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is sponsored by IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies; IU Bloomington’s College Arts & Humanities Institute; IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute; IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab; Science on Screen, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and IU Cinema.
The symposium and series will take place at the IU Cinema, a 260-seat, THX-certified cinema that is dedicated to the scholarly study of film and the highest standards of exhibition. IU Cinema is one of a small percentage of theaters still able to project 35mm and 16mm films properly, as well as using the latest digital technology.