Monthly Archives: April 2014

Corn’s-A-Poppin’ Restoration Premieres
May 4 at UCLA Film and Television Archive

Sunday, May 4, 7:00pm – Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024

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Presented in conjunction with “Robert Altman: A Retrospective”

Restoration Premiere. Restored by Northwest Chicago Film Society, with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional material courtesy of the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research. Laboratory services by FotoKem.

Corn’s-A-Poppin’ (1955)
Directed by Robert Woodburn
Scripted by Altman after his disappointing sojourn as a Hollywood screenwriter, Corn’s-A-Poppin’ is a bargain-basement backstage musical that puts the corn in cornpone. Country-western crooner Jerry Wallace gleefully hosts the Pinwhistle Popcorn Hour—until he discovers that the TV program is a corrupt ad man’s scheme to liquidate the sponsor. Can Wallace and his kid sister Little Cora Rice save the day and save the popcorn? Produced in Kansas City by a cast and crew of Calvin Company veterans, Corn’s-A-Poppin’ saw extremely limited play in Midwestern drive-ins before disappearing for decades. Introduced by Kyle Westphal

Crest Productions Inc.  Producer: Elmer C. Rhoden, Jr.  Screenwriter: Robert Altman, Robert Woodburn.  Cinematographer: Robert Woodburn.  Editor: Carl Pierson (uncr.)  Cast: Jerry Wallace, Pat McReynolds, Little Cora Rice, James Lantz, Keith Painton, Hobie Shepp and the Cowtown Wranglers

35mm, b/w, 58 min

Chicago Premiere Coming Soon!

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May 4 at UCLA Film and Television Archive

Ann Dvorak Biographer Christina Rice Presents The Strange Love of Molly Louvain – Archival 35mm Print

As you’ve probably heard, the Patio Theater will be shutting down for the foreseeable future due to unsustainable operating costs. The Strange Love of Molly Louvain will be the final screening at the Patio.  If you’ve hesitated about joining us for a show at the Patio or you know folks who’ve waffled on making the trek, this is it!

Is the Northwest Chicago Film Society ending, too? Of course not–we’ll still be presenting occasional screenings and working on special projects like our Corn’s-A-Poppin’ restoration as we strive to secure a new, long-term home. We know that we have the most dedicated audience in Chicagoland–and that’s why we feel we can and must move forward. Please stay on our mailing list and keep a look-out for celluloid news.

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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.

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Wednesday, April 23 @ 7:30pm
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1932
Iowa cigarette counter salesgirl Molly Louvain (Ann Dvorak) has everything figured out until her country club boyfriend leaves her penniless and pregnant. Hitting the road with a greasy lowlife (Leslie Fenton), Molly eventually winds up in Chicago, where she gets mixed up with a cop killing. Fawned over by a hayseed hometown suitor (Richard Cromwell) and pursued by transparently cynical newspaperman Scotty “Peanuts” Cornell (Lee Tracy), Molly finds herself in a clinch that even blonde hair dye can’t fix. A rare starring showcase for the wonderful Dvorak, The Strange Love of Molly Louvain is a brisk maternal melodrama and a mettle-testing gauntlet of spontaneous sincerity. Based on a play by Chicago’s Maurine Watkins, this nevertheless rates as one of the most geographically inept depictions of the Second City on film: a key scene occurs at the intersection of Clark and Dearborn, while Hyde Park comes across as Lake Michigan’s version of The Bronx.  (KW)
73 min • First National • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.
Co-sponsored by Park Ridge Classic Film Series
Introduced by Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel

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Christina Rice will also introduce Scarface (1932) at the Pickwick Theatre on Thursday, April 24 at 7:30pm. Full details here.

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Sucking in the Seventies: Re-Examining the Wondrous, Incoherent Decade

ERRBI’m pretty sure the first movie book I read cover-to-cover was Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, a high-calorie, sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ gross participation page-turner that maps the ascent and deflation of the “New Hollywood” filmmakers from 1967 to 1980. For a high schooler, it was a simple story with an irresistible through line and a cast of unsavory, irascible geniuses. Even without seeing all the films described in the book, this gossipy chronicle of long-haired movie brats sold a seductive premise: a vanished kingdom of personal, American auteurist cinema, wiped off the beach by Jaws and its blockbusting successors.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, published in 1998 shortly after the release of Boogie Nights, spawned a ’70s revival that has now calcified into a peculiar critical consensus. The best-seller inspired two talking-head documentaries (A Decade Under the Influence and another named for and adapted from the Biskind book) and endless appreciations of films that were hardly underappreciated in the first place: The Godfather, Taxi Driver, The Exorcist, The Last Picture Show, Apocalypse Now.

Nor can we forget the recent films that consciously channeled the “New Hollywood Renaissance,” taking the procedural aloofness of All the President’s Men as a retro Rosetta Stone: Argo, The Informant!, Michael ClaytonZodiac, American Hustle, and host of less memorable pictures. Grain equals grit.

By now, the ’70s are accepted so reflexively as “Hollywood’s Last Golden Age” that there’s little point in quibbling. Still, it’s difficult to name another era in Hollywood filmmaking impervious to the critic’s naturally revisionist impulse. The Best Picture Oscar winners of the ’30s or the ’80s are roundly ridiculed, but the ’70s class (Midnight Cowboy, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Annie Hall) remains lionized. Continue reading

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