August 17, 2004 Film Series on "Movies and the Moral Life" to Be Shown at Library of Congress' Mary Pickford Theater

"To Kill a Mockingbird" to Be Screened at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Jean Bethke Elshtain, a philosopher and moral theologian who was the 2003 Cary and Ann Maguire Scholar at the Library's John W. Kluge Center, has selected a number of films to illustrate the theme "Movies and the Moral Life," which will be shown over the next few months in the Library's recently renovated Mary Pickford Theater located on the third floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The series, which is co-sponsored by the Kluge Center and the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Because of limited seating, however, reservations are suggested by calling (202) 707-5677 during business hours, beginning one week before any given show. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before showtime, after which standbys will be admitted to unclaimed seats.

Elshtain, who is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a member of the Library's Scholars' Council, will introduce each film and lead a discussion of the moral and ethical themes portrayed.

"Movies are the great American popular art form," said Elshtain. "Films stretch our sensibilities and force us to confront issues or themes that might otherwise have lain, quite literally, outside our field of vision."

The schedule for the films, which continue through December, is below.

  • "To Kill a Mockingbird" (Universal, 1962) - Wednesday, Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m.
    Suggested reading: Harper Lee's novel on which the film is based
  • "A Place in the Sun" (Paramount, 1951) - Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m.
    Suggested reading: Theodore Dreiser, "An American Tragedy"
  • "Viva Zapata" (20th Century Fox, 1952) - Wednesday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.
    Suggested reading: Albert Camus, "The Rebel"
  • "The Searchers" (Warner Bros., 1956) - Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.
    Suggested reading: Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"
  • "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (Paramount, 1962) - Friday, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.<br/ >Suggested reading: Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"

For information on any of the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at

The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division's Web site is at For a list of other films scheduled in the Pickford Theater this fall, go to


PR 04-149
ISSN 0731-3527