Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (2005)
Produced by Ron Munns
Directed by Gary Cook, T.C. Christensen
Screenplay by Gary Cook
Production Company: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Premiere Date: December 2005
Length: 60 min.
|| || Film|
||LDS Church Production|
||Exhibition / Visitor's Center|
Subjects: Joseph Smith; Zion;
This is a biopic of Joseph Smith, book-ended and with occasional editorial comment coming from an Englishman and his adult daughter, a Mormon convert, traveling up the Mississippi to Nauvoo the day before Joseph's departure to Carthage. As the daughter tells the father about the prophet we are shown prominent scenes from his life. The film culminates in his assassination after the duo have arrived in Nauvoo.
See Mormon Film: Key Films of the Fifth Wave
Church leaders and other Latter-day Saints have dreamed of creating a biographical film of Joseph Smith for over thirty years. Though Richard Dutcher's recent quest to create such a film is probably the best-known aborted effort, the LDS Church itself spent a great deal of time and resources in the 1970s pursuing a feature film that could be released in commercial theaters to bring the life of Joseph Smith to a paying public. Robert Bolt was briefly retained, and then for a time all original scripts were accepted on spec. These energies were eventually diverted elsewhere, but the impulse remained, and now Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration can be seen as a partial fullfillment of that dream (partial because it is playing in a single, Church-owned cinema rather than in commercial centers across the nation).
The film is the work of longtime collaborators T.C. Christensen and Gary Cook, who also worked together on the recent remake of The First Vision (1976), called The Restoration (2003). The co-directors were aware of the distancing effect of the epic scope of the Church's previous two films shown in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and deliberately sought a more intimate feel in tone, characterization, and even cinematography (the 70mm film stock of Legacy and Testaments was eschewed in favor of Super-35mm, projected digitally on two vertically stacked projectors).
Released for the bicentennial of Joseph Smith's birth, the film was also original in that it was quickly distributed to LDS visitor's centers throughout North America, so that it could gain a wider audience than would be available at Temple Square alone.
Additional details at Internet Movie Database
Medium: Super 35mm
Cast Members: Nathan Mitchell - Joseph Smith; Dustin Harding - young Joseph Smith; Tayva Patch - Lucy Mack Smith; Rick Macy - Joseph Smith, Sr.; Katherine Thompson - Emma Smith; Ryan Wood - Oliver Cowdery; David Nibley - Alvin Smith; Scott Christopher - Alexander Doniphan; Fiona Smith - Jane Manning James; Emmelyn Thayer - Mary Fielding Smith
Film Editor: Wynn Hougaard
Cinematographer: T.C. Christensen
Distributor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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