Free Screenings of Legendary Director William Wyler’s Films Begin March 12

Free Screenings of Legendary Director William Wyler’s Films Begin March 12

Director William Wyler

Screenings at the downtown Fairfield University Bookstore will be followed by Q&As with faculty, and special guest appearances by Wyler’s children and others.

Fairfield University will host four film screenings in 2024 — on March 12, April 9, October 1, and November 19 — to celebrate the life and artistic legacy of 20th century film director William Wyler. The movie screenings, free and open to the public, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the downtown Fairfield University Bookstore, located at 1499 Post Road in Fairfield.

The Wyler film screenings are curated and coordinated by Jay Rozgonyi, associate vice provost for pedagogical innovation & effectiveness, and an instructor in the Educational Technology and Visual & Performing Arts Departments. 

“It’s amazing that the man who received the most Oscar nominations for best director, and led more actors and actresses to Academy Awards, has been so often forgotten in discussions of great Hollywood filmmakers,” said Rozgonyi. “I think Fairfield University is the perfect place to host a course and other events this year to honor his great artistic legacy. I will be using my class, the public screenings, and a library exhibition to highlight Wyler’s strong social conscience, which is very much in line with the University’s Jesuit values.”

The catalyst for this film series is a course offered by Rozgonyi that focuses on the amazing career of Wyler and his impact on American film history. The four screenings — and an accompanying selection of photos, letters, contracts, papers, awards, and other material from Wyler’s personal and professional life — will be on display during the screenings. This collection and film series is made possible through the generous support and participation of Catherine and Melanie Wyler, two of William Wyler’s daughters.

All four screenings will feature light refreshments and will be followed by Q&As with Rozgonyi and guests.

“The Wyler Family is terribly proud that Fairfield’s University is offering a course, film screenings, and an exhibit on our father, film director William Wyler, whose notable career spanned everything from silent two-reel westerns in the 1920s to prestigious high-budget features later in his career,” said Melanie Wyler. “He was notable for doing nearly every type of film, something that we don’t feel is recognized enough today, and we hope that Fairfield’s year-long focus on his work will introduce his classic films and artistic accomplishments to a new generation of movie fans.”

The following movie screenings will be open to the public at 6:30 p.m. on these dates at the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore, located at 1499 Post Road, Fairfield, Conn.:

  • March 12: Dead End (1937); guests: Melanie Wyler and star Joel McCrea’s son, Peter McCrea (in person) and Catherine Wyler (via Zoom).
  • April 9: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); guests: Melanie Wyler (in person) and Catherine Wyler (via Zoom).
  • October 1: The Desperate Hours (1955); guests: Melanie Wyler (in person) and Catherine Wyler (via Zoom); other Wyler family members may attend via Zoom.
  • November 19: The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970); guests: Melanie Wyler (in person) and Catherine Wyler (via Zoom); other Wyler family members may attend via Zoom.

In recognition of his legendary career, Wyler was nominated for a record 12 Best Director Academy Awards; he won three. In 1976, he became the fourth recipient of the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, following directors John Ford and Orson Welles. Among Wyler’s most famous films are the classics Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, The Best Years of Our Lives, Funny Girl, Mrs. Miniver, and Wuthering Heights.

The Wyler film screenings are free and open to the public, with no registration or tickets required.

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