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Corianton
A Story of Unholy Love

Produced by Lester Park
Directed by Wilfred North
Screenplay by Orestes U. Bean
Production Company: Corianton Corporation
Premiere Date: 1931
Length: about 90 min.
 

Genre:   Film
Production Type:
Mormon Contributor(s)
Content Types:
Narrative Film
Scripture-based Film
Significant Mormon Elements
Distribution Types:
Commercial Theaters

Subjects: Book of Mormon; Corianton--Book of Mormon character;
Summary:
This film combines two stories from the Book of Mormon: that of the anti-Christ Korihor and his encounter with Alma the prophet (Alma 30), and that of Alma's son Corianton who, on his mission to the Zoramites, fell into temptation with the harlot Isabel and subsequently repented (Alma 39). The two stories are interwoven and enhanced with fictionalized elements.

Annotations:
See Mormon Film: Key Films of the Second Wave

This film has one of the longest genealogies in LDS cinema: The original source is obviously the Book of Mormon. After Orson F. Whitney's 1888 manifesto calling for increased "Home Literature" among the Latter-day Saints, Elder B. H. Roberts adapted these stories into a moralizing serialized novella that ran in the "Contributor" in 1889. In 1902 Orestes Utah Bean adapted this into a stage play, which was quite popular with Latter-day Saints, though probably not as popular with general audiences as LDS rhetoric may have implied.

Since the 1910s LDS film distributor and producer Lester Park had desired to make an LDS-themed feature film, and with the coming of synchronized sound at the end of the 20s he saw an adaptation of "Corianton" as an ideal, proven property. With his brothers he founded the Corianton Corporation; he secured use of the Tabernacle Choir for the soundtrack, and proceeded with production, done lavishly in the style of the popular 1920s Biblical epics.

Despite troubled finances caused by the onset of the Great Depression (and the subsequent missing of the projected release date of April 6, 1930, the Church's centennial), the corporation managed to complete the picture and preview it to an audience in early 1931. After this, however, the film did not to our knowledge enter general or limited release. Park left LDS filmmaking and the film was lost for many decades. The Corianton Corporation was suspended on April 4, 1932 for failure to pay taxes.

In 2004 BYU Motion Picture Archivist James V. D'arc located a damaged 16mm print of the film, and digital restoration work was completed in early 2006.

Outside Resources:
Orson Scott Card, grandson of Lester Park, submits a hypothesis on the fiscal history of this film in an address to the Mormon Arts Festival in 1995. Subsequent research has gone beyond this hypothesis, as indicated above.

Medium: 35mm black and white
Music Composed by: Edgar Stillman Kelley
Country: USA
Language: English
Certification: none
Adapted From :
Corianton: An Aztec Romance by Orestes U. BeanDrama


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