Monthly Archives: February 2016

NWCFS 70mm Shorts Showcase Comes to the
Music Box on March 5! One Screening Only!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave. • General Admission: $13
Tickets Available Here

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Saturday, March 5 @ Noon70mm SHORTS PROGRAM
70mm isn’t just for epics. Since the format’s inception, 70mm has been used in theme parks, museums, and other non-theatrical spaces, making use of the wide, clear frame to simulate reality, tell the stories of our forefathers, and sell stuff. While films like Cleopatra and Lawrence of Arabia have seen loving, multi-million dollar restorations, few of these 70mm short subjects have been seen since their original runs, much less been preserved or restored, and most will screen in original prints from collections all over the country (the exception is the painstakingly restored Story of a Patriot). Program includes: Here’s Chicago: City of Dreams (1983), exhibited as part of the “Here’s Chicago” exhibit at the Water Tower Pumping Station; A Year Along the Abandoned Road (1991) Morten Skallerud’s beautiful time-lapse film shot over the course of a year in Hasvik, Norway; Winners (1968), a promotional film produced by Lincoln Mercury; Williamsburg, The Story of a Patriot (George Seaton, 1957), the longest running film in motion picture history, which has been shown nearly every day at Colonial Williamsburg since 1957; trailer reels, simulator ride films, and more!
Co-presented with the Music Box Theatre. Special thanks to Mike Durling of Colonial Williamsburg, Dave Kenig and Sharon Walker of Panavision, Brad Morris, and Morten Skallerud

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Music Box on March 5! One Screening Only!

Where Spurs Are A-Jinglin’: Gus Van Sant’s Sleepy
Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 17th @ 7:30 PM
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Directed by Gus Van Sant • 1991
A sleepy, slow-burning adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is one of the finest American independent films of a brief and now-gone era when major studios still saw value in funding the weird, the sublime, and the small budget (or was it just a dream?). Centered around the experiences of a narcoleptic hustler in Portland (River Phoenix), the film borrows its checkerboard structure from William S. Burroughs, tossing and turning through the Pacific Northwest. Keanu Reeves is River’s love interest, another streetwalker who left his family (his father, the Mayor of Portland) but has an inheritance to collect when he turns twenty-one and will “leave this life behind.” Van Sant has developed a reputation for having one foot inside Hollywood (Milk, Good Will Hunting) and one firmly outside of it (Last Days, Elephant), but Idaho—a road movie, an urban western, and a coming-of-age film tied together with the soft and reassuring voice of Eddy Arnold—makes such distinctions irrelevant, bound only by a sense of place and time. (JA)
104 min • Fine Line Features • 35mm from Warner Brothers/Swank

Preceded by: “Junior” (Gus Van Sant, 1992) – 16-to-35mm blowup – 4 min
Print courtesy of the Gus Van Sant Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

 

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Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm

Turn On the Heat! Fox Film Corp’s Musical Triumph Sunnyside Up – Restored 35mm Print from MoMA

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 10th @ 7:30 PM
SUNNYSIDE UP
Directed by David Butler • 1929
After their triumphant turns in 7th Heaven and Street Angel, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell stood as America’s most beloved silent screen couple. They could have made any film they wanted in 1929, and they embarked on a big, brash musical, undaunted by new Movietone recording technology or their own lack of vocal training. The result, Sunnyside Up, boasted a score by Tin Pan Alley veterans DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson (Just Imagine) and proved one of the major films of its era, outgrossing even The Broadway Melody. The story can be solved from a mile away—will Farrell’s stuffy Southampton playboy fall for Gaynor’s Yorkville tenement princess?—but the songs are memorable and the camerawork is exceptionally fluid. Then there’s the singular, Eskimo-themed show-stopper “Turn On the Heat,” a literal barn-burner whose appeal has been aptly described by musical historian Richard Barrios: “There was no restraint, not from sound men telling [director David] Butler and [choreographer Seymour] Felix what wouldn’t work, nor from censors, innate finer feelings, or the studio fire marshal.” (KW)
121 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, Permission Criterion
Preceded by: Short TBA

 

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“Enhanced in Entertainment Value By About 25% (In Our Estimation)”:
An Enlarged History of Magnascope

Magnascope_600Old Ironsides—the 1926 super-production, helmed by one of Paramount’s most important directors, James Cruze—isn’t much shown these days. It’s never been released on DVD or Blu-ray, though it was briefly available on VHS in the late 1980s, when Paramount mined its silent library for a 75th anniversary promotion. If you’ve come across Old Ironsides at all, it’s likely been as a footnote in a film history textbook, duly credited as the film that introduced Magnascope—a widescreen projection process developed by Lorenzo Del Riccio that is itself a footnote in the development of Cinerama and CinemaScope.

But should we dismiss Magnascope so quickly? Yes, we can draw an evolutionary line between Magnascope and the more durable widescreen processes. We can also readily glimpse the Magnascope concept in today’s IMAX presentations. But Magnascope’s true legacy is something else, situated between chintzy striving and earnest grandeur, between what filmmakers thought they were making and what projectionists made instead. Continue reading

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An Enlarged History of Magnascope