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Mercer professor to lead discussion in CollegeTown Film Series’ first "Revenge" film

<p>A screencap of the opening credits of “Leave Her to Heaven.” Taken by Mandi DeLong.</p>

A screencap of the opening credits of “Leave Her to Heaven.” Taken by Mandi DeLong.

Evey Wilson, a professor in the Journalism & Media Studies department, will be leading the discussion for the first film in the 2022 CollegeTown Film Series.

This year’s theme is "Revenge" and is going to be kicked off with the 1945 film “Leave Her to Heaven.”

The CollegeTown Film Series is a collaboration between professors from Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University and Wesleyan College. MGA history professor Robert Burnham came up with the idea in 1999 "as an effort to help revitalize downtown Macon life, and bring audiences to the newly renovated Douglass Theatre," according to an article on MGA's website.

“The CollegeTown Film Series did so by bringing together students from Mercer University, Wesleyan College, and what is now Middle Georgia State University, to grow together and appreciate film culture in an exciting and educational way,” the article says.

Each year has a unique theme for the films they’ll be showing. In previous years, themes have included “Women of the Night: A Film Noir Exploration,” "End Times," "Madness," "City Life," "Films of the Fabulous Fifties," "Social Justice in the 20th Century," "The New Millennium: The Past as Prologue" and "Civilization and Its Discontents."

“We had a brainstorm session to think of topics for this year and I threw out the idea ‘revenge.’ There are so many fun films that playfully explore revenge, to very dark horror and dramas. I thought it would be a fun film to explore how diverse film can be,” Wilson said.

Wilson chose “Leave Her to Heaven” as the first film of the series.

The film follows the relationship of a writer and a socialite, played by Gene Tierney, who are quickly married, only for the writer to discover the obsessive love of his new bride. Tierney earned her only Oscar nomination of her career for her performance in this film, and the work overall was Twentieth Century Fox's top-grossing film of the 1940s.

“I watched a myriad of different genres, but I kept coming back to the understated [theme] of revenge in this stunning 1945 film," Wilson said. "The film itself is a marvelous concoction of complex characters, stunning color, enviable locations and homes and deep emotions. It's a film that I selfishly would love to see on the big screen, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to share it."

Wilson said she hopes that others enjoy the film as much as she does.

“This remarkable film was the first of its kind in many ways. Gene Tierney plays a very unique femme fatale who is driven by love and obsession. At the time, most technicolor films were Westerns or musicals or epics, so to see this kind of story that was usually filmed in black and white in technicolor is really stunning,” Wilson said.

After the “Leave Her to Heaven” showing, “Legally Blonde” will be screened Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. by Wesleyan professor Tom Ellington and “Blue Ruin” will be screened Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. by MGA professor and series founder Robert Burnham. Each screening will have a discussion led by their respective host professor following the film. 

The film showing will be at the Douglass Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free for students with ID and $5 for faculty, staff or the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

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