Monthly Archives: April 2013

Shake Hands with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
In 35mm This Wednesday at the Portage Theater

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

01A_Man Who Shot Liberty Valance_1
Wednesday, May 1 @ 7:30pm
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
Directed by John Ford • 1962
Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) returns to the town of Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) and recounts the decades-old shooting of outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) to two local reporters. There’s nothing unusual about the premise: Wayne is an emotionally damaged cowboy, Stewart is morally upstanding but physically weak, Marvin is despicable, the town sheriff is a drunken coward . . . we’ve met all these people before but, seen almost entirely in flashback, these familiar characters take on new life. Wayne and Stewart are clearly older than they’re supposed to be in the story, but that only helps the half-remembered, dreamlike state of the film: darkly lit and with a very sparse set, the film makes the case that it doesn’t really matter whether our past is real or imagined. Ford’s only film in the ’60s shot in black and white, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a film of shadows and light, and more or less the last word on the classic American Western without being a caricature of it. (JA)
123 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Paramount
Preceded by: Will Penny Production Featurette with Charlton Heston (1968) – 16mm Technicolor – 6 min

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And join us next Wednesday for another delicious confection…

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Wednesday, May 8 @ 7:30pm
DELICIOUS
Directed by David Butler • 1931
Most studios responded to the talkie revolution by importing high-class talent from Broadway. Fox, on the other hand, had the chutzpah to put forward its immensely popular silent screen team of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell (7th Heaven, Street Angel) as the latest light opera sensation. When their bubbly musical debut Sunny Side Up proved a blockbuster, Fox ordered a follow-up and hired no less than George and Ira Gershwin to provide the score—the brothers’ first work for the movies. From this innocuous little story—Scottish immigrant Gaynor meets boy millionaire Farrell in steerage en route to Ellis Island—spring several popular Gershwin standards, including “Blah Blah Blah” and the “Second Rhapsody.” (The latter’s introduced in an extended sequence as Gaynor flees through an expressionist nightmare of Gotham.) An uncommonly optimistic vision of the American melting pot in the depths of the Great Depression—there’s even room for the antics of El Brendel. (KW)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old/New Dreams
106 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from 20th Century Fox
Preceded by: Laurel & Hardy in “Putting Pants on Phillip” (Clyde Bruckman, 1927) – 16mm – 21 min

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In 35mm This Wednesday at the Portage Theater

Kristofferson and MacGraw – Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Get in Their Way! Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy in 35mm! 10-4

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, April 24 @ 7:30pm
CONVOY
Directed by Sam Peckinpah • 1978
A two-fisted, tender, and explosive answer to the inexplicable trucking craze that overtook the better part of the country in the mid-’70s, Convoy was the second-to-last feature of director Sam Peckinpah, and his first and only attempt at a box office hit. Shot almost entirely in New Mexico, Convoy is an odd mix of lonely expanses of highway, tightly executed action sequences (including the best 18-wheeler explosion you’ve ever seen), and Captain Marvel-esque plotlessness. Kris Kristofferson is Martin ‘Rubber Duck’ Penwald, who leads a mile-long convoy of truckers in a meandering diesel-fueled protest to corrupt highway-cop Ernest Borgnine; Ali MacGraw is the wedding photographer whose car breaks down and takes up with the Duck and his band of outlaws. For a film simultaneously selling out its director’s reputation and cashing in on the 1975 song of the same name, Convoy is one of those rare films that manages to be weirdly moving and simultaneously kick-ass. Kristofferson gives a performance as listless as James Taylor and Dennis Wilson in Two Lane Blacktop, and he emerges as heroic as Errol Flynn, but the trucks steal the show. (JA)
110 min • EMI Films • 35mm from Park Circus
Cartoon: Popeye the Sailor in “Cops Is Always Right” (Fleischer Studios, 1938) – 16mm – 7 min

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Have You Considered a Vacation to This Island Earth? Greatest Sci-Fi Thrill Picture of Them All in 35mm

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, April 17 @ 7:30pm
THIS ISLAND EARTH
Directed by Joseph M. Newman • 1955
More successfully than any other ’50s science fiction movie, This Island Earth burrows deep inside its pulp source material. You get the sense that every technician at Universal-International was a paperback devotee, devouring boys’ adventure magazines and comics devoted to radios, rockets, and intergalactic conquest with the same alacrity as the kids themselves, fashioning a wondrous Formica-and-steel light show that keeps the spirit of the stuff totally intact. The story itself is pure juvenile urgency: hunky Rex Reason assembles a mysterious telecommunications device as if it were the greatest model train set ever and finds himself invited to hobnob with fellow scientists at a top-secret research facility in Georgia. He and ex-lover Faith Domergue suspect that all is not as it appears, and, insofar as they’re chumps propping up the military-industrial-complex of the distant planet Metaluna, they’re quite right.  Like a free-form Cold War allegory staged with action figures, This Island Earth nevertheless retains, in the words of its most eloquent defender, Raymond Durgnat, “a genuine charge of poetry and of significant social feeling. It’s not cliché; with its sense of inner tensions, of moral tragedy, it’s myth.” (KW)
87 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Cartoon: “Dancing on the Moon” (Fleischer Color Classic, 1935) – 16mm – 7 min

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CITY STREETS in the Chicago Daily News

City Streets opened at the Chicago Theater almost exactly 82 years ago. Here’s the original review from the Chicago Daily News (thanks to Neil Cooper for giving us the article). Check out the mini-reviews for other films on the right!

City Streets - Chicago Daily News

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Move Over, Little Caesar – Rouben Mamoulian’s City Streets – Restored 35mm Print This MONDAY

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Monday, April 15 @ 7:30pm
CITY STREETS
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian • 1931
Then better known for westerns like The Virginian and The Spoilers, Gary Cooper is a marksman for a traveling carnival who takes up with Sylvia Sydney, a bootlegger’s daughter. When Sydney’s father (inexplicably but superbly played by future character actor Guy Kibbee) lands her in jail for a murder he committed, he convinces straight-shooting Cooper to join the mob to help get Sydney out of the clink. For a film by stage director Mamoulian, City Streets moves more than any of its All-Talking contemporaries, employing the first use of superimposed voiceover narration in an American film, said by Variety to be “probably the first sophisticated treatment of a gangster picture.” Reportedly Al Capone’s favorite crime film, City Streets‘ hands are creepily clean: all of the deaths happen offscreen, coyly suggested with verbal contracts and violently extinguished cigar matches, making for a brutal and atmospheric night at the movies. (JA)
83 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Cartoon: “Bugs Bunny Rides Again” (Friz Freleng, 1948) – 16mm – 7 min

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And then come back on Wednesday for our most anticipated screening of the season!

Wednesday, April 17 @ 7:30pm
THIS ISLAND EARTH
Directed by Joseph M. Newman • 1955
More successfully than any other ’50s science fiction movie, This Island Earth burrows deep inside its pulp source material. You get the sense that every technician at Universal-International was a paperback devotee, devouring boys’ adventure magazines and comics devoted to radios, rockets, and intergalactic conquest with the same alacrity as the kids themselves, fashioning a wondrous Formica-and-steel light show that keeps the spirit of the stuff totally intact. The story itself is pure juvenile urgency: hunky Rex Reason assembles a mysterious telecommunications device as if it were the greatest model train set ever and finds himself invited to hobnob with fellow scientists at a top-secret research facility in Georgia. He and ex-lover Faith Domergue suspect that all is not as it appears, and, insofar as they’re chumps propping up the military-industrial-complex of the distant planet Metaluna, they’re quite right.  Like a free-form Cold War allegory staged with action figures, This Island Earth nevertheless retains, in the words of its most eloquent defender, Raymond Durgnat, “a genuine charge of poetry and of significant social feeling. It’s not cliché; with its sense of inner tensions, of moral tragedy, it’s myth.” (KW)
87 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Cartoon: “Dancing on the Moon” (Fleischer Color Classic, 1935) – 16mm – 7 min

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Wanted by Two Women! Ida Lupino’s The Bigamist
35mm Restoration from UCLA This Wednesday

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, April 10 @ 7:30pm
THE BIGAMIST
Directed by Ida Lupino • 1953
Perpetually typecast as a noir floozy, Ida Lupino knew that the only way to see serious social dramas on screen was to make them herself. Forming a small production company with her husband Collier Young, Lupino embarked on a series of topical films. All had exploitation-ready storylines, but Lupino and Young took a more guarded, liberal approach to their material. By the time of The Bigamist, Lupino and Young had divorced and remarried other people, but continued their business relationship. Poignantly, The Bigamist stars both Lupino and Young’s new wife, Joan Fontaine, as two very different poles of femininity. Arch career woman Fontaine just can’t provide the domestic comfort that her husband Edmond O’Brien desires, leaving the wannabe family man to seek affection from earthy hostess Lupino. Not wanting to hurt either woman, bigamy emerges as O’Brien’s most humane option. The Bigamist has developed a subterranean reputation through poor-quality prints and bootleg videos, but thanks to UCLA’s sterling restoration, it’s resurrected as an impossibly sensitive treatment of the constraints of gender and society in the ’50s. Preservation funded by The Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. (KW)
79 min • The Filmakers • 35mm from UCLA Film and Television Archive
Cartoon: Daffy Duck in “The Henpecked Duck” (Robert Clampett, 1941) – 16mm – 7 min

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35mm Restoration from UCLA This Wednesday