Monthly Archives: October 2016

We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore: Andy Griffith in Elia Kazan’s Electrifying Satire A Face in the Crowd – 35mm

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

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Tuesday, November 1 @ 7:30 PM
A FACE IN THE CROWD
Directed by Elia Kazan • 1957
Andy Griffith was launched into stardom when he made his film debut as Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, a honey- and vitriol-spewing Will Rogers-type good ol’ boy with a taste for power. With the help of radio producer Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal in one of her best roles), Rhodes makes the meteoric rise from sweaty jail cell philosopher to national television personality whispering into the ears of politicians. Eisenhower-era audiences were unimpressed with Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg’s potent satire about the dangers of television and its kingmaking powers, but it’s been pointed to over the years in times of dire need, as when New York Times film critic Nora Sayre called for a “widespread revival” of the film in the wake of Watergate. Director and critic François Truffaut never wavered in his affection for it: “There’s no denying that the film lacks consistency, but to hell with consistency! What’s important is not its structure but its unassailable spirit, its power, and what I dare call its necessity.” The distractingly good supporting cast includes Walter Matthau, Anthony Franciosa, and Lee Remick in her first film appearance. It’s time for a widespread revival of A Face in the Crowd! (RL)
126 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Film Stock: Eastman B+W (1979)
Preceded by: TV Commercials in 35mm

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Stay Safe This Halloween … Beware of Stephanie Rothman’s The Velvet Vampire – Rare 35mm Screening

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

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Tuesday, October 25 @ 7:30 PM
THE VELVET VAMPIRE
Directed by Stephanie Rothman • 1971
Inspired by the overwhelming response to last season’s screening of The Student Nurses, we’re joyously digging deeper into the career of Stephanie Rothman, the only woman who ascended to the director’s chair at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Working on a miniscule budget with no stars and only an exploitation-ready title to goose the picture’s box office appeal, Rothman crafted a slow, kinky nightmare for the Southern California yuppie set. Wannabe hipsters Susan and Lee Ritter (Sherry DeBoer and Michael Blodgett) wander into the Stoker Gallery in LA and meet cute with the mysterious Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall). She invites the couple to her home in the Mojave Desert for the weekend, curiously failing to warn them about the prospect of psychotronic trips and undead swinging. Beautifully lensed by Daniel LaCambre (one-time cinematographer for Eric Rohmer and Jean Eustache, embarking on the first of four films he would shoot for Rothman), The Velvet Vampire was nevertheless greeted as run-of-the-mill sex schlock, receiving a one-paragraph notice in the New York Times that concluded: “It is to be recommended only if you can see it at the New Amsterdam on 42d Street, where audiences loudly, freely, and obscenely associate with the action on the screen.” (KW)
80 min • New World Pictures • 35mm from Private Collections, permission Criterion Pictures, USA

Preceded  by: “Halloween Safety (Second Edition)” (Coronet Films, 1986) – 16mm – 14 min

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Ozu in Agfacolor: Equinox Flower 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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Tuesday, October 18 @ 7:30 PM
EQUINOX FLOWER
Directed by Yasujirō Ozu • 1958
In Japanese with English subtitles
A youthful and invigorating film from an aging master, Equinox Flower is Ozu in full bloom. In the face of great cultural changes in postwar Japan, aging father Hirayama fancies himself something of a progressive in his views on marriage. When his own daughter Setsuko makes marriage plans for herself, however, Hirayama instinctively declines to give his consent-leading to a series of confrontations in which Hirayama’s hypocrisy is challenged. Infused with a wry, mildly petulant, but ultimately good-natured sense of humor, Equinox Flower, like so many of Ozu’s late films, portrays the older generation as befuddled and struggling with their children’s growing agency and disinterest in filial duty. Shooting in color for the first time (on achingly gorgeous Agfacolor stock), Equinox Flower found Ozu becoming an increasingly bold formalist, enlivening his compositions with the lush green of vegetation, as seen in exterior location footage, and a red teapot that seems to be perpetually in use yet always finds itself placed in an evocative position. (CW)
118 min • Shochiku • 35mm from Janus
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2002)
Short: “Trains” (Caleb Deschanel, 1976) – 35mm – 15 min

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The Rootin’est, Tootin’est Rodeo Show Ever to Hit the Screen! Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men – Restored 35mm Print! One Night Only at the Music Box!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7

Monday, October 17 @ 7:00 PM
THE LUSTY MEN
Directed by Nicholas Ray • 1952
One of the superlative works turned out in the waning days of RKO as the studio atrophied under the erratic, inattentive leadership of Howard Hughes, The Lusty Men should never have come out so well. All its characters have seen better days, too: Robert Mitchum as the washed-up saddle tramp who knows when to walk; Arthur Kennedy as the ranch hand who still clings to a childhood of bronco-busting stardom; and Susan Hayward, who made the mistake of shackling herself to the immature Kennedy. Based on a Life magazine article and a mountain of research on the slang, rituals, and attitudes of modern-day cowpokes, the film had at least six writers; Mitchum and Ray purportedly threw out much of this work and simply improvised, writing the next day’s scenes when filming concluded each evening. Accordingly, The Lusty Men plays like a burnished myth, a folk mosaic that simply rose from the dirt. The best lines—“Never was a bull that couldn’t be rode, there was never a cowboy that couldn’t be throwed” —approach the archaic sublime. Restored by Warner Bros. in collaboration with The Film Foundation and The Nicholas Ray Foundation. Print courtesy of The Film Foundation Conservation Collection at the Academy Film Archive.  (KW)
113 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive

Preceded by: “Universal Color Parade: Junior Jamboree” (Thomas Mead, 1957) – 35mm – 9 min

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The movies never stop! Join us tomorrow for another show at:

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

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Tuesday, October 18 @ 7:30 PM
EQUINOX FLOWER
Directed by Yasujirō Ozu • 1958
In Japanese with English subtitles
A youthful and invigorating film from an aging master, Equinox Flower is Ozu in full bloom. In the face of great cultural changes in postwar Japan, aging father Hirayama fancies himself something of a progressive in his views on marriage. When his own daughter Setsuko makes marriage plans for herself, however, Hirayama instinctively declines to give his consent-leading to a series of confrontations in which Hirayama’s hypocrisy is challenged. Infused with a wry, mildly petulant, but ultimately good-natured sense of humor, Equinox Flower, like so many of Ozu’s late films, portrays the older generation as befuddled and struggling with their children’s growing agency and disinterest in filial duty. Shooting in color for the first time (on achingly gorgeous Agfacolor stock), Equinox Flower found Ozu becoming an increasingly bold formalist, enlivening his compositions with the lush green of vegetation, as seen in exterior location footage, and a red teapot that seems to be perpetually in use yet always finds itself placed in an evocative position. (CW)
118 min • Shochiku • 35mm from Janus
Short: “Trains” (Caleb Deschanel, 1976) – 35mm – 15 min

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Home Movie Day 2016 – Our Favorite Day of the Year!

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Saturday, October 15 – 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
HOME MOVIE DAY 2016
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street • Free Admission
Go down to the basement and dig out your Super 8 memories of that interminable trip to Idaho or that embarrassing 16mm footage of your mother’s rockin’ bat mitzvah and bring them to the Chicago History Museum on Saturday, October 15 for this year’s edition of Home Movie Day. Jointly presented for the sixth year in a row by Chicago Film Archives and the Northwest Chicago Film Society, Home Movie Day offers Chicagoans the opportunity to gather together and share their celluloid histories. Home movies provide invaluable records of our families and our communities: they document vanished storefronts, questionable fashions, adorable pets, long-departed loved ones, and neighborhoods-in-transition. Many Chicagoans still possess these old reels, passed down from generation to generation, but lack the projection equipment to view them properly and safely. That’s where Home Movie Day comes in: you bring the films, and we inspect them, project them, and offer tips on storage, preservation, and video transfer–all free of charge. And best of all, you get to watch them with an enthusiastic audience, equally hungry for local history.

Presented by the Northwest Chicago Film Society and Chicago Film Archives.

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And join us on Monday for a very special presentation of a newly restored masterpiece at the

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7

Monday, October 17 @ 7:00 PM
THE LUSTY MEN
Directed by Nicholas Ray • 1952
One of the superlative works turned out in the waning days of RKO as the studio atrophied under the erratic, inattentive leadership of Howard Hughes, The Lusty Men should never have come out so well. All its characters have seen better days, too: Robert Mitchum as the washed-up saddle tramp who knows when to walk; Arthur Kennedy as the ranch hand who still clings to a childhood of bronco-busting stardom; and Susan Hayward, who made the mistake of shackling herself to the immature Kennedy. Based on a Life magazine article and a mountain of research on the slang, rituals, and attitudes of modern-day cowpokes, the film had at least six writers; Mitchum and Ray purportedly threw out much of this work and simply improvised, writing the next day’s scenes when filming concluded each evening. Accordingly, The Lusty Men plays like a burnished myth, a folk mosaic that simply rose from the dirt. The best lines—“Never was a bull that couldn’t be rode, there was never a cowboy that couldn’t be throwed” —approach the archaic sublime. Restored by Warner Bros. in collaboration with The Film Foundation and The Nicholas Ray Foundation. Print courtesy of The Film Foundation Conservation Collection at the Academy Film Archive.  (KW)
113 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive

Preceded by: “Universal Color Parade: Junior Jamboree” (Thomas Mead, 1957) – 35mm – 9 min

[ PRE-ORDER TICKETS THROUGH BROWN PAPER TICKETS ]

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Peter Fonda Directs Peter Fonda, Warren Oates in
The Hired Hand – Vintage 35mm IB Tech Print!

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

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Tuesday, October 11 @ 7:30 PM
THE HIRED HAND
Directed by Peter Fonda • 1971
Peter Fonda’s first feature as a director is the gentlest western ever to break your heart, a sleepy-eyed answer to Easy Rider’s hippie narcissism and one of the best westerns of the seventies. Fonda plays a drifter who returns home to the wife he abandoned seven years ago (Verna Bloom), who will take him in only as a hired hand. When his partner (Warren Oates) is kidnapped by an old enemy, he leaves to rescue him. Shot in New Mexico by Vilmos Zsigmond just before McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Hired Hand is glistening and grainy, with optical effects that give the feeling the film was woven together by hand during late nights at a wood burning fire. Too unassuming and elegiac to be a breakout hit, the film was met with either reverence or apathy on its original release. From the New York Times: “The Hired Hand knows that its Paradise is both tenable and actual, but it also knows that nobody can stay there for very long.” With music by regular Bob Dylan guitarist Bruce Langhorne. (JA)
90 min • Pando Company Inc./Universal Pictures •  35mm from Universal
Film Stock: Eastman 1972 (IB Technicolor)
Preceded by: ‘70s Westerns Trailer Reel

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The Hired Hand – Vintage 35mm IB Tech Print!

Saying Something New: In Defense of the Topical Film

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Museum of Modern Art / Film Stills Archive

Is there any more dismissive response to a film than slagging it off as “dated?” Does a film lose its relevance merely because its clothing and hair styles are passé, its slang forgotten, its topicality turgid, its passions yoked to a particular time and place?

It’s a charge related to, but ultimately distinct from, the realization that a beloved film’s attitudes toward gender or race are indefensible. It shouldn’t be controversial to acknowledge that The Birth of a Nation (1915) advocates white supremacy, that Gone with the Wind (1939) puts a positive spin on marital rape, or that casting Mickey Rooney as a Chinese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) is an act of thermonuclear indifference. It’s legitimate to view those films as products of the culture that produced them, as failures of empathy and imagination that reflect the limitations of their social horizons. Continue reading

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