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Event: The Two Worlds of William March

Thursday April 6, 2017
7:00 PM

A World War I Hero & Author

In celebration of the centennial date of America’s entry into World War I, the Mobile Public Library welcomes filmmaker, Robert Clem for a special preview screening of his new film, The Two Worlds of William March. William Campbell March won three decorations for bravery in World War I and acquired fame as the author of Company K and The Bad Seed.  

The film tells the story of William Edward Campbell (1893-1954), a native of Mobile who spent his childhood in the dismal lumber camps of wiregrass Alabama before joining the U.S. Marines in 1917 where he saw intense combat in France, winning the Army and Navy Crosses and the French Croix de Guerre for his bravery in combat.   

After the war, William Campbell joined the fledgling Waterman Steamship Corporation and found his fortune as a business executive, but also lived a second life as the eccentric and secretive writer, William March.  March’s 1933 novel, Company K is considered the finest American book about the war, and the most realistic.   He set many short stories and three novels in the fictional South Alabama town of Reedyville, writing with the same harsh realism as he did about war.  His final and most famous work was The Bad Seed, set in Mobile about an eight-year old child who commits multiple murders.  It was his final, ironic statement on the human capacity for evil, which he had seen firsthand in war.

The film includes dramatization, as well as interviews with literary voices and people who knew William Campbell before his death in 1954. Since March left no memoir and kept his personal life a secret, the film relies on the work of biographer Roy Simmonds and recreates his interviews with March’s psychoanalyst Edward Glover, art dealer Klaus Perls and friends such as Kay Boyle and Clay Shaw.  The film includes excerpts from Robert Clem’s 2004 adaptation of Company K; a clip from the trailer for The Bad Seed; and short scenes from March’s most autobiographical stories, “This Heavy Load”, “Happy Jack” and “The Shoe Drummer.” For more information, please call 208-7097.

The project is a collaboration between the Mobile Public Library and the Foundation for New Media and has been funded by the Ben May Charitable Trust; A.S. Mitchell Foundation; Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; The Daniel Foundation of Alabama; and Monte Moorer Foundation.

This program is in partnership with the Southern Literary Trail. THE SOUTHERN LITERARY TRAIL® is America's only tri-state literary trail connecting mythic places that influenced great novelists and playwrights of the 20th Century.  The 2017 trail celebrates Trailfest! During Trailfest, special commemorations will be held at Southern Literary Trail sites throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.  For further information, go to www.southernliterarytrail.org/events-2015-al.html.

Location: Ben May Main Library
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This page last updated : 7.9.25 ~ 3417 - 2017.04.11 -- 6:30 AM
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