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June 18, 2004

CW 'Good Neighbors', Williamsburg community invited to preview restored historic film

Colonial Williamsburg’s Good Neighbors and Williamsburg community residents are invited to a series of special previews June 29 – July 1 of the restored film classic, “Williamsburg – The Story of a Patriot.”

Before the original film began its record-setting 47-year run of daily showings April 1, 1957, the Williamsburg community was invited to a special premiere March 31 of that year. Six special exhibitions beginning Tuesday, June 29 in the Patriot Theaters at the Visitor Center reflect the 1957 precedent with additional showings to accommodate a larger population’s varied schedules. Seating is limited and will be first-come, first served. Theater guests also will have the opportunity to view a short documentary about the original production and the restoration of the motion picture, and a special exhibit outside the theaters about the film and its restoration.

Sneak preview show times for Good Neighbors and the Williamsburg community are:

  • 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 29,
  • 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, and
  • 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday, July 1.

    The restored “Williamsburg – The Story of a Patriot” will begin showing continuously for Colonial Williamsburg guests Saturday, July 3 in the Patriot Theaters, custom designed for the exhibition of the film. More than 30 million Colonial Williamsburg guests have seen the film since its debut, and each passing day extends the film’s world record-setting run as the motion picture with the longest continuous daily exhibition.

    The 36-minute film, directed by Academy Award winner George Seaton, was produced in 1957 by Paramount Pictures for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to illustrate the ideas and the ideals that gave birth to the American Revolution and came to life in 18th-century Williamsburg. Through the eyes of fictional colonial Virginia planter John Fry -- the first leading film role for the late actor Jack Lord, who later starred in the long-running television series, “Hawaii Five-O” -- the audience meets George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia patriots who conceived the “idea of America.”

    During the past two years, the classic movie has been restored to its original grandeur under the guiding hand of Robert Harris of The Film Preserve, Ltd., a New York company specializing in the restoration of classic films, in concert with several California firms: Eastman Kodak’s CineSite digital facility, Pacific Title/Mirage and Todd-AO.

    The restoration of “Williamsburg -- The Story of a Patriot” was funded in part through the generosity of fans of the film and friends of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Significant commitments to the film’s restoration have come from Royce R. and Kathryn M Baker, Elizabeth and William Chantry, Marcia and John R. Donnell, Jr., Kenneth Hunt, Letitia and Edward C. Joullian III, Ruth H. and James H. Keene III, Gretchen and William Kimball, Virginialee and Edward Lynch, Richard L. McCluney, Laura C. and Tommy Miller, Charlotte Morehouse, Judy E. Morse, Abby and George O’Neill, Lois and Dick Vieser, Brigid and David S. Wilson, Marion and Robert Wilson, Sally and Kenneth Wolfe, and Louise and Gordon Wood.

    Media Contact:
    Jim Bradley
    (757) 220-7281

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