It is the film that truly reinvented the musical. “Pennies from Heaven,” which earned three Academy Award nominations in 1981, will be celebrated with a 20th anniversary screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday, December 14, at 8 p.m., in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. In honor of the anniversary, the screening will be followed by a discussion with members of the film’s cast and crew, including its stars, Steve Martin and Jessica Harper.
Incredible sets and mammoth dance sequences add to the melodramatic tale of Arthur Parker (Martin), a Depression-era sheet music salesman, married to Joan (Harper) but who falls in love with school teacher Eileen, portrayed by Bernadette Peters. The film also stars Christopher Walken, Vernel Bagneris, John McMartin, John Karlen, Jay Garner, Robert Fitch and Thomas Rall.
In addition to Martin and Harper, the post-screening discussion will include Bob Mackie, who received an Oscar nomination for the film’s costume design; art director Bernie Cutler; and Dave Chasman, the studio executive who supervised the production for M-G-M. The discussion will be moderated by film critic Peter Rainer.
“Pennies from Heaven” also received nominations for Sound (Michael J. Kohut, Jay M. Harding, Richard Tyler, Al Overton) and Writing – Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Dennis Potter). The film was directed by Herbert Ross and produced by Ross and Nora Kaye.
The print to be screened is one newly made from the original negative.
Tickets for the 20th anniversary screening of “Pennies from Heaven” are $5 for the general public, $3 for Academy members. They may be purchased in advance beginning Monday, December 3 at the Academy during regular business hours, by mail, or on the night of the screening, if still available, when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.
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