Monthly Archives: February 2014

Crime Without Passion or Cinema Without Sense?
Hecht & MacArthur’s Woozy Whatsit 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.

Crime Without Passion HSWednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
CRIME WITHOUT PASSION
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

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Hecht & MacArthur’s Woozy Whatsit in 35mm

Beacons of Cinema: In Defense of Trailers

MPAA in 70mmNow that the film vs. digital debate is winding down, the National Association of Theater Owners has turned its attention towards more pressing matters. Last month the exhibitor’s trade group issued new guidelines for movie trailers and related promotional material, effective October 2014. It was a canny move, seizing upon public sentiment that “trailers are too damn long” and thus earning ink for NATO in publications like RedEye that would typically ignore its pronouncements. (When you share an acronym with the instantly recognized North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it’s hard to get mainstream press coverage. Then again, as an industry trade group, perhaps you don’t want the sunlight in the first place.)

The new NATO guidelines, which are completely voluntary, mandate that movie trailers run no longer than two minutes and be released no more than five months before than the movie that they’re promoting. (Trailers are presently around two and half minutes apiece.) Each distributor will qualify for two exemptions per year, though these exceptional trailers cannot be any longer than three minutes. NATO’s latest also clamps down on “direct response prompts (QR codes, text-to, sound recognition, etc.)” in trailers and endorses practices that most theaters abide by already, such as assuring that age-appropriate trailers accompany each feature so that Dallas Buyers Club isn’t pitched at the Frozen crowd. Continue reading

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Nothing Can Keep a Good Film Society Down! Back at the Patio on Feb. 26 with Kiss the Blood Off My Hands 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.

Kiss the Blood AWednesday, February 26 @ 7:30pm
KISS THE BLOOD OFF MY HANDS
Directed by Norman Foster • 1948
A film that requires no tagline, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is the first feature made by Burt Lancaster and Harold Hecht’s Harold Hecht-Norma Productions, and a trendsetter for independent “tough guy who just needs some understanding” film noirs. After killing a man in a sloshy bar fight, former POW Bill Saunders (Lancaster) takes shelter in the arms of a kindhearted nurse (Joan Fontaine), who gets him a job delivering medical supplies. Lancaster’s past catches up with him soon enough, and a witness to his killing blackmails him into doing a robbery and throwing his new love away. Set in an eerie backlot approximation of London, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is a violent, menacing emotional trainwreck held together by one of Joan Fontaine’s best performances. (JA)
79 min • Harold Hecht-Norma Productions • 35mm from Universal

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And join us in March for another rare 35mm screening of a title that you won’t find on DVD…

Crime Without Passion A
Wednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
CRIME WITHOUT PASSION
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

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