Washington University Film & Media Archive hosted a screening of A Regular Bouquet, followed by a Q&A with actor and filmmaker, Richard Beymer on September 23. Best known for his roles as “Tony” in the film adaption of West Side Story (1961) and “Ben Horne” in David Lynch’s series Twin Peaks (1990-1991), actor Richard Beymer’s documentary film, A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer (1964) offers a rare portrait of segregated Mississippi during this historically significant time in American History. Beymer was one of the few filmmakers to spend significant time working with Freedom Summer volunteers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Footage from Beymer’s film was used in filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Summer (2014) and in episode five of Henry Hampton’s landmark series Eyes on the Prize, Mississippi: Is This America? (1962-1964).
A Regular Bouquet is a unique film and primary document of Freedom Summer in Mississippi. Beymer worked alongside Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists, organizing and registering people to vote in rural Mississippi. The footage he captured shows the daily life of African-American Mississippians and the extreme poverty and deprivation of their surroundings along with the excitement of the young people attending the Freedom Schools and organizational meetings. Many thanks to Mr. Beymer for sharing his film and memories with the audience.
Washington University Film & Media Archive received a National Film Preservation Foundation Grant (NFPF) to preserve A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer. Once the preservation state is complete, Washington University Film & Media Archive will create a digital copy which will be available to stream online. A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer is an invaluable film for filmmakers, researchers, teachers, and historians, and we look forward to making it available to the public.