Souls Made Great By Love & Adversity: Frank Borzage’s Street Angel in 35mm – Nov. 17 at the Music Box with Live Accompaniment by Organist Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, November 17 @ 11:30 AM
STREET ANGEL
Directed by Frank Borzage • 1928
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Auteurist critics who rediscovered the work of Frank Borzage in the 1970s grasped for superlatives, but none fashioned as succinct a thesis statement as the opening titles of Street Angel, perhaps the director’s best silent effort: “Everywhere … in every town … in every street … we pass unknowing human souls made great by love and adversity.” The beatification of common people with everyday problems reaches a resplendent apex in Street Angel, in which Neapolitan urchin Angela (Janet Gaynor) turns amateur streetwalker after her mother falls ill. Fleeing the police, she joins a gypsy circus and meets romantic painter Gino (Charles Farrell). When the authorities finally catch up with the lovers, Gino’s portrait of Angela becomes a transcendent conduit for two souls blooming in adversity’s shadow. A follow-up to the Borzage/Gaynor/Farrell smash 7th Heaven, with a heavy helping of Expressionist visual finesse creatively cribbed from Fox’s star director F.W. Murnau, Street Angel is the rare popular success whose appeal is still readily apparent ninety years on. That potential was not always evident: Ernest Palmer’s highly diffused, near-ineffable cinematography was initially rejected by the Fox lab as unprintable, but luckily more poetic heads prevailed. (KW)
102 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “Rain” (Joris Ivens, 1929) – 12 min – 16mm

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Tired of the classics? Have we got the film for you!

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, November 21 @ 7:30 PM
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon • 1944
Hollywood’s ode to child labor if there ever was one, Song of the Open Road stars teen actress Jane Powell (playing teen actress “Jane Powell”), who takes leave of an overbearing stage mother (Joseph Cornell’s own Rose Hobart) and a studio system intent on monopolizing her time and energy to find excitement and adventure picking lima beans for the USDA’s Crop Corps, a wartime effort to enlist teenagers to fill farm work vacancies. A regular Celine or Julie, Jane (disguised in a dyed brown bob as “Jane”) is fast enthralled observing her fellow teens in romantic roundelay and meanwhile mills around the edges of their dime store dramas, inadvertently bungling the tasks she volunteers for and mussing up the routines of the young pickers she has fallen in with. An easygoing meta-musical comedy pitched as Department of Agriculture propaganda, Song of the Open Road is a film that features an unmotivated and unconvincing archeology-themed ventriloquist routine, a musical number about date crops performed atop bicycles, and a gloriously besotted W.C. Fields cameo. In other words, it’s a film you will only see at the Chicago Film Society. (CW)
93 min • Charles R. Rogers Productions • 35mm from private collections
Short: “Hit and Rum” (Ben Holmes, 1935) – 20 min – 35mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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