Monthly Archives: August 2013

Celebrate the New Season with Us! Ernst Lubitsch’s Audacious Operetta One Hour with You in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

01B ONE HOURWednesday, September 4 @ 7:30pm
ONE HOUR WITH YOU
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1932
Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald have been married for three years and still go at it like squirrels in the park, but their splendiferous matrimony goes awry when Chevalier spends an hour alone with MacDonald’s best friend Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin). Ernst Lubitsch’s last musical for Paramount was originally assigned to George Cukor, and a pre-release argument over who actually directed the bulk of the picture ended in Cukor suing Paramount and eventually leaving the studio to work for RKO. None of that tension shows up on screen: One Hour With You is magnificently frothy and cute, and per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The result is something so delightful that it places the circle of leaves jauntily upon the knowing head of Hollywood’s most original director” … whoever that is. Songs include: “What a Little Thing Like a Wedding Ring Can Do,” “We Will Always Be Sweethearts,” and the titular “One Hour With You.” (JA)
80 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal

——————

And come back next Wednesday for a brand new 35mm print of Days of Heaven, now with 50% more Magic Hour.

02A DAYS
Wednesday, September 11 @ 7:30pm
DAYS OF HEAVEN
Directed by Terrence Malick • 1978
Did any modern classic receive more dismissive and flippant opening day notices than Days of Heaven? David Denby called it “one of the most perversely undramatic, uninvolving, and senseless movies ever made,” and one can almost see what he means. There isn’t much meat to the story and this is perhaps the most silent talkie you will ever see (as is Malick’s way). Nestor Almendros and Haskell Wexler’s magic hour visuals are held together by Linda Manz’s impromptu voiceover narration—a naïve but unconsciously wise reflection on a soured American Dream. Manz, her brother (Richard Gere), and his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) flee Chicago for the Texas panhandle where their fate turns tragic after Adams, in the hope for a better life for them all, marries a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard). Appointed with sometimes-surreal compositions, a dreamily hopeful score of Ennio Morricone by way of Saint-Säens, and a haunting swarm of locusts, Days of Heaven is now recognized as a singularly beautiful cinematic experience. (HG/KW)
94 min • Paramount • 35mm from Paramount

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Burn, Baby, Burn: Dreyer’s Day of Wrath in 35mm
Close Out the Summer with a Bang

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

26B Day of Wrath
Wednesday, August 28 @ 7:30pm
DAY OF WRATH (VREDENS DAG)
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer • 1943
Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark and brimming with barely concealed commentary about the medieval methods of the invaders, Day of Wrath is itself an act of black magic. Casting a glance at the witch-hunts of the seventeenth century, Dreyer treats history as a present-tense crisis. The stunning Lisbeth Movin stars as Anne, the young wife of the much older Absalon Pederssøn (Thorkild Roose), lately cursed by an elderly widow he ordered burned at the stake. Is Anne’s affair with Absalon’s son from a previous marriage an act of sexual license or a mystic compulsion? An unacknowledged influence on Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, Day of Wrath treats the allegorical implications of the material in an expansive and irresolvable manner. Instead of dismissing the persecutions as backwards folk paranoia, Dreyer advances a plausible case for witchcraft as feminist resistance. (KW) In Danish with English subtitles. [INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
97 min • Palladium Productions • 35mm from Janus Films
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 35mm – 7 min

———-

Don’t miss a beat! Our new season starts next Wednesday with one of Lubitsch’s finest achievements…

01A ONE HOUR
Wednesday, September 4 @ 7:30pm
ONE HOUR WITH YOU
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1932
Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald have been married for three years and still go at it like squirrels in the park, but their splendiferous matrimony goes awry when Chevalier spends an hour alone with MacDonald’s best friend Mitzi (Genevieve Tobin). Ernst Lubitsch’s last musical for Paramount was originally assigned to George Cukor, and a pre-release argument over who actually directed the bulk of the picture ended in Cukor suing Paramount and eventually leaving the studio to work for RKO. None of that tension shows up on screen: One Hour With You is magnificently frothy and cute, and per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The result is something so delightful that it places the circle of leaves jauntily upon the knowing head of Hollywood’s most original director” … whoever that is. Songs include: “What a Little Thing Like a Wedding Ring Can Do,” “We Will Always Be Sweethearts,” and the titular “One Hour With You.” (JA)
80 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal

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Close Out the Summer with a Bang

Diamond Jim: Preston Sturges’s Larger-than-Life Comedy About an Extra-Larger-than-Life Man – Not on DVD!

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

25A_Diamond Jim

Wednesday, August 21 @ 7:30pm
DIAMOND JIM
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland • 1935
Preston Sturges wrote the script for this biopic of “Diamond” Jim Brady (Edward Arnold), which follows the notorious overeater and Gilded Age philanthropist’s rise to fame. There is a lot of food and some unsuccessful love affairs, Jean Arthur stars in a dual role as Emma and Jane, both of whom Jim falls for and strikes out with, and Binnie Barnes is Lillian Russell, his muse and the love of his life, who would never be anything other than a friend. The New York Times supplied an indignant response to Sturges’s tendency to discard historical accuracy for comedy, but Sturges also does something much more sophisticated and gives Brady a life of resonance which just happens to be incredibly funny . . . there isn’t a hint of irony. Only five years into his career, Diamond Jim makes a case for the young screenwriter as one of the most important comedy writers of the twentieth century. (JA)
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
88 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 16mm – 8 min

———

But remember, there are six sins besides gluttony …

25B_Day of Wrath

Wednesday, August 28 @ 7:30pm
DAY OF WRATH (VREDENS DAG)
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer • 1943
Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark and brimming with barely concealed commentary about the medieval methods of the invaders, Day of Wrath is itself an act of black magic. Casting a glance at the witch-hunts of the seventeenth century, Dreyer treats history as a present-tense crisis. The stunning Lisbeth Movin stars as Anne, the young wife of the much older Absalon Pederssøn (Thorkild Roose), lately cursed by an elderly widow he ordered burned at the stake. Is Anne’s affair with Absalon’s son from a previous marriage an act of sexual license or a mystic compulsion? An unacknowledged influence on Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, Day of Wrath treats the allegorical implications of the material in an expansive and irresolvable manner. Instead of dismissing the persecutions as backwards folk paranoia, Dreyer advances a plausible case for witchcraft as feminist resistance. (KW) In Danish with English subtitles.
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
97 min • Palladium Productions • 35mm from Janus Films
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 35mm – 7 min

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Western Vernacular

Lone Ranger
The Lone Consensus
For box office watchers, last month’s failure of The Lone Ranger offered an opportunity for city slicker schadenfreude and quick-draw conclusions. Boasting a combined production and marketing cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million, The Lone Ranger has no absolutely chance of turning a profit or kick-starting a new summer franchise. Nevertheless, its failure hardly imperils the future of its studio, as prior runaway productions like Cleopatra and Heaven’s Gate once threatened to do. Industry consensus says that Disney will simply take a nine-figure write-down and steer clear of committing that much money to an unproven brand again, at least for a while. (The same lesson was presumably learned last year in the wake of John Carter, but The Lone Ranger had already left the station.) Continue reading

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Step Back in Time to Nixon’s West: Robert Aldrich’s Late Masterpiece Ulzana’s Raid – This Monday in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

24A_UlzanaMonday, August 19 @ 7:30pm
ULZANA’S RAID
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1972
Weary army scout Burt Lancaster and inexperienced peach-fuzzed lieutenant Bruce Davison are sent out to track the Apache war chief Ulzana, who is leading a vicious war party against traveling settlers and anything else in his path. If not the first, Ulzana’s Raid is a significant marker in the history of the revisionist Western: its characters are not celebrated or sympathetic, their actions are not justified, and the tone is decidedly bleak. It’s an anti-Western with antiheroes, shot in the unforgiving wastelands of Arizona. With Ulzana’s Raid and The Hired Hand the year before, screenwriter and former Scottish novelist Alan Sharp re-mythologized the American West, creating a dark, lonely fable that replaces heroes with shells of human beings on the brink of exhaustion. Rarely unpolitical, Aldrich’s film is also a commentary on the Vietnam War and the strangeness of human destruction. (JA)
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
103 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Woody Woodpecker in “Fat in the Saddle” (Paul J. Smith, 1968) – 35mm Technicolor – 6 min

—————

And come back on Wednesday to find out if “Diamond” Jim Brady can eat his way out of this one.

24B_Diamond JimWednesday, August 21 @ 7:30pm
DIAMOND JIM
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland • 1935
Preston Sturges wrote the script for this biopic of “Diamond” Jim Brady (Edward Arnold), which follows the notorious overeater and Gilded Age philanthropist’s rise to fame. There is a lot of food and some unsuccessful love affairs, Jean Arthur stars in a dual role as Emma and Jane, both of whom Jim falls for and strikes out with, and Binnie Barnes is Lillian Russell, his muse and the love of his life, who would never be anything other than a friend. The New York Times supplied an indignant response to Sturges’s tendency to discard historical accuracy for comedy, but Sturges also does something much more sophisticated and gives Brady a life of resonance which just happens to be incredibly funny . . . there isn’t a hint of irony. Only five years into his career, Diamond Jim makes a case for the young screenwriter as one of the most important comedy writers of the twentieth century. (JA)
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
88 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 16mm – 8 min

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Beam Me Out of Missouri or: Captain Kirk, the White Supremacist – Corman’s Crazy The Intruder in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

23A_IntruderWednesday, August 14 @ 7:30pm
THE INTRUDER
Directed by Roger Corman • 1962
Delusional misanthrope Adam Cramer (played by a pre-Star Trek William Shatner) comes to the small Southern town of Claxton to stop racial integration, turning “neighbor against neighbor” until the town spirals out of control. Shot in southeast Missouri, the cast and crew were met with relentless opposition from locals who didn’t think it gave a fair view of the South. Both Shatner and Corman recount being chased by the police from small town to small town in a guerrilla effort to get the picture finished, and the result is an incredibly tense, fearless, and horrifying portrayal of the lowest form of human pettiness. Often pigeonholed by the sheer bulk and thriftiness of his several-hundred-film output, Corman’s few personal projects are an incredible reminder of a time when being an independent filmmaker actually meant taking risks and proving that you can’t buy great films. Print courtesy of the Joe Dante and Jon Davison Collection. (JA)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]

84 min • Filmgroup, Inc. • 35mm from the Academy Film Archive

———

Tired of the Old South? What about the Old West?

23B_UlzanaMonday, August 19 @ 7:30pm
ULZANA’S RAID
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1972
Weary army scout Burt Lancaster and inexperienced peach-fuzzed lieutenant Bruce Davison are sent out to track the Apache war chief Ulzana, who is leading a vicious war party against traveling settlers and anything else in his path. If not the first, Ulzana’s Raid is a significant marker in the history of the revisionist Western: its characters are not celebrated or sympathetic, their actions are not justified, and the tone is decidedly bleak. It’s an anti-Western with antiheroes, shot in the unforgiving wastelands of Arizona. With Ulzana’s Raid and The Hired Hand the year before, screenwriter and former Scottish novelist Alan Sharp re-mythologized the American West, creating a dark, lonely fable that replaces heroes with shells of human beings on the brink of exhaustion. Rarely unpolitical, Aldrich’s film is also a commentary on the Vietnam War and the strangeness of human destruction. (JA)
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
103 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Woody Woodpecker in “Fat in the Saddle” (Paul J. Smith, 1968) – 35mm Technicolor – 6 min

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What Makes a Print Archival?

Early on in my career as a film exhibitor, I fielded a straightforward and slightly irate question from an audience member. The night before, my college had screened a rare Maurice Tourneur film in a soft, middling 16mm print, which we had advertised, correctly, as an ‘archival print.’ Shouldn’t an archival print look better than that, he wondered? Shouldn’t it look, if not wonderful, at least good?

The answer I fear I gave this man, tautological but also correct, was that an archival print simply meant a print obtained from an archive.

Film Vault

Archival prints are special, but if programmers hope to train audiences to salivate at the mere words, they have another thing coming. The fact that a print can be described as archival doesn’t necessarily translate into a more luminous or detailed image, a scratch-free print, or, for that matter, a better movie. In truth, the real distinction comes down to the fact that the programmer probably had to negotiate for the right to screen the print, document the venue’s film handling workflow, attest to a sterling record with borrowing similar artifacts for peer institutions, and sign an intimidating loan agreement. This compared to the relatively simple process of booking a film from a studio or an indie distributor, which can often be accomplished with a simple phone call. It’s an inside-baseball commendation, a process-oriented triumph whispered about by fellow connoisseurs. Continue reading

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Lombard, MacMurray, & Lamour in Leisen’s Swing High, Swing Low – 35mm Print from the Library of Congress

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

22A_Swing High
Wednesday, August 7 @ 7:30pm
SWING HIGH, SWING LOW
Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1937
Screwball comedy meets alcoholic self-destruction in this luminous romantic melodrama from the underrated Mitchell Leisen. Fred MacMurray acquits himself surprisingly well in his first dramatic role as cocky trumpeter Skid Johnson, who thinks nothing of staging a brawl in a Panamanian dive to assure that Carole Lombard misses her boat back to America. Their inevitable marriage becomes a source of artistic inspiration and personal stability until Skid’s old flame Dorothy Lamour arrives on the scene. If the story sounds predictable, the tone is anything but, zipping from one emotional register to another without warning. Paramount’s most profitable film of 1937, Swing High, Swing Low suffered an ignoble fate when 20th Century-Fox opted to remake the property. The film fell into a copyright black hole and its original negative disappeared. Swing High, Swing Low survives today only because the American Film Institute managed to cobble together a complete version from several uneven sources, including Leisen’s personal 16mm copy. (KW)
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
92 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from the Library of Congress

——-

Too much gaiety and lilt? Have we got the picture for you …

22B_IntruderWednesday, August 14 @ 7:30pm
THE INTRUDER
Directed by Roger Corman • 1962
Delusional misanthrope Adam Cramer (played by a pre-Star Trek William Shatner) comes to the small Southern town of Claxton to stop racial integration, turning “neighbor against neighbor” until the town spirals out of control. Shot in southeast Missouri, the cast and crew were met with relentless opposition from locals who didn’t think it gave a fair view of the South. Both Shatner and Corman recount being chased by the police from small town to small town in a guerrilla effort to get the picture finished, and the result is an incredibly tense, fearless, and horrifying portrayal of the lowest form of human pettiness. Often pigeonholed by the sheer bulk and thriftiness of his several-hundred-film output, Corman’s few personal projects are an incredible reminder of a time when being an independent filmmaker actually meant taking risks and proving that you can’t buy great films. Print courtesy of the Joe Dante and Jon Davison Collection. (JA)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
[INVITE FACEBOOK FRIENDS]
84 min • Filmgroup, Inc. • 35mm from the Academy Film Archive

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Lance Henriksen and I

Guest post by Alexander Bohan

Thanks to Chicago filmmaker, projectionist, film historian and NW Chicago Film Society volunteer Alexander Bohan for sharing these scans of Lance Henriksen’s copy of the Dead Man script (click on the thumbnails to enlarge), and for sharing his experience getting to know Henriksen through his films and in person.

 

As an adolescent I became engrossed with the travels of Captain James T. Kirk and the Enterprise, the novels of Verne and Welles, and the absolute wonder of cinema that is 2001: a Space Odyssey. But as I grew older I began to see how my beloved films were used to convey the larger questions of life, namely, what does it mean to be human?

Lance Henriksen has devoted his life and his craft to answering this question. Henriksen is perhaps best known as the sympathetic android Bishop in James Cameron’s cinematic comic book – Aliens. Bishop exuded a boyish-like curiosity paired with an unexpected air of innocence and inexperience while being very intelligent and observant; like me, he too was naturally curious and yet socially guarded.
deadman-byrd-hurt-wincott-henriksen-1 Continue reading

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My Name is Nobody: Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man
A Latter-Day Classic in Undead 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

21A_Dead ManMonday, August 5 @ 7:30pm
DEAD MAN
Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1995
Lauded by J. Hoberman as “the western Andrei Tarkovsky always wanted to make,” Dead Man is an ethereal vision quest set against an industrialized, monochrome frontier. Johnny Depp stars as William Blake, a Cleveland accountant cosmically but not biologically related to the English poet and painter. Shortly after his arrival in a mudhole called Machine, Blake finds himself wanted for the murder of a local steel magnate’s daughter and her jealous lover. Hunted by a trio of bounty collectors hired by Robert Mitchum (in his final performance), the wounded Blake stumbles through the landscape with only a laconic Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer) at his side. An acid recollection on the West’s genocidal golden age anchored in the texture of daily life, Jarmusch’s Dead Man reinvents the genre as something simultaneously grim, elegiac, and wondrous. Unceremoniously dumped by Miramax despite such saleable aspects as Depp’s doe-eyed innocence and Neil Young’s unsettling guitar score, Dead Man has become an underground milestone. (KW)
121 min • Miramax • 35mm from Park Circus

——-

And don’t forget about next Monday’s screening of Swing High, Swing Low. If you’ve only seen it in disreputable VHS bootlegs, you deserve to see the infrequently-circulated Library of Congress restoration:

21B_Swing HighWednesday, August 7 @ 7:30pm
SWING HIGH, SWING LOW
Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1937
Screwball comedy meets alcoholic self-destruction in this luminous romantic melodrama from the underrated Mitchell Leisen. Fred MacMurray acquits himself surprisingly well in his first dramatic role as cocky trumpeter Skid Johnson, who thinks nothing of staging a brawl in a Panamanian dive to assure that Carole Lombard misses her boat back to America. Their inevitable marriage becomes a source of artistic inspiration and personal stability until Skid’s old flame Dorothy Lamour arrives on the scene. If the story sounds predictable, the tone is anything but, zipping from one emotional register to another without warning. Paramount’s most profitable film of 1937, Swing High, Swing Low suffered an ignoble fate when 20th Century-Fox opted to remake the property. The film fell into a copyright black hole and its original negative disappeared. Swing High, Swing Low survives today only because the American Film Institute managed to cobble together a complete version from several uneven sources, including Leisen’s personal 16mm copy. (KW)
92 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from the Library of Congress

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A Latter-Day Classic in Undead 35mm