Monthly Archives: June 2017

Michael Schultz’s ’70s Classic Car Wash – Where Anything Can Happen and Usually Does! 35mm Screening 6/27

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

Tuesday, June 27 @ 7:30 PM
CAR WASH
Directed by Michael Schultz • 1976
Anybody who has languished in a low-paying service industry job will recognize the spectrum of frustrations—from vomiting children and condescending customers to unreliable coworkers and the parade of shady personalities moving to and from the restroom—suffered with good humor and great spirit by the employees of the Dee Luxe Car Wash. Director Michael Schultz’s follow-up to CFS favorite Cooley High contains the unique mixture of comic hijinks and astute social observation that had been something of a signature for the filmmaker up to that point. Tracking a single day in and around the car wash, Schultz mostly dispenses with the notion of dramatic escalation here in favor of observing workaday life and luxuriating in the charisma of his sprawling, diverse cast. Richard Pryor and George Carlin’s cameos may have been the marquee attractions, but it’s the countless lesser-known workhorse performers who make lasting impressions, particularly Ivan Dixon as ex-con family man Lonnie, Bill Duke as militant revolutionary Abdullah, and Antonio Fargas as gender-fluid cosmetology student Lindy. Featuring one of the most enduring soundtracks of any era, an ever-present and insistent counterpoint to all of the film’s action, Car Wash bursts with immeasurable musical energy. Earning minimum wage has never been done with such style. (CW)
97 min • Universal • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Production Featurette for Greased Lightning (Michael Schultz, 1977) – 16mm – 6 min

Posted in News | Comments Off on Michael Schultz’s ’70s Classic Car Wash – Where Anything Can Happen and Usually Does! 35mm Screening 6/27

Meet the Real Women Who Work: Dorothy Arzner’s Working Girls – 35mm Studio Print on June 21

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

Wednesday, June 21 @ 7:30 PM
WORKING GIRLS
Directed by Dorothy Arzner • 1931
Two sisters, Mae and June Thorpe (Dorothy Hall and Judith Wood), move from Rockville, Indiana, to New York City seeking their fortune. Under the direction of Dorothy Arzner, this boilerplate premise becomes a nuanced examination of the intersection of class and gender in Depression-era urban America. The relationship between sexual mores, work, and social advancement is a central area of interest: the sisters’ professional positions are opportunities for both economic empowerment and romantic liaisons, the latter of which in turn can be a source of either upward mobility or social ruin. As the first female member of the Director’s Guild and the only woman director to sustain a Hollywood career into the 1940s, Arzner brought a focus on female relationships to her work that was rare among her studio contemporaries. The relationship between Mae and June is as important as the sisters’ romantic relationships, contrasting the literal bond of sisterhood and the support it provides with the often cruel and fickle world of men. Aside from her underground feminist film studies classic Dance, Girl, Dance, much of Arzner’s output remains unseen and unavailable outside of archives and studio vaults. (JR)
77 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts in “The Pajama Party” (Hal Roach, 1931) – 16mm – 20 min

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art / Film Stills Archive

Posted in News | Comments Off on Meet the Real Women Who Work: Dorothy Arzner’s Working Girls – 35mm Studio Print on June 21

Last Vestige of the Lubitsch Touch This Wednesday: Masterful Cluny Brown in 35mm – Not Available on DVD

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

Wednesday, June 14 @ 7:30 PM
CLUNY BROWN
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1946
Lubitsch’s last completed film is everything one would hope for from one of Hollywood’s (and the Chicago Film Society’s) most beloved directors. Set in England on the verge of WWII, it’s a pithy commentary on class, with much of the film spent poking fun at the fumbling of British aristocrats and impotent liberals (“I’ve written a letter to the Times!” is one character’s earnest response to Hitler), while simultaneously managing to remain a weirdo romance. Destined to cross paths, two kindred misfits—Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), a Czech intellectual hiding out from the Nazis (albeit leisurely), and Cluny Brown (Jennifer Jones), a bright plumber’s niece—both end up at the country estate of the wealthy Carmel family, Belinski as a guest and Cluny as a parlor maid. Belinski manages to charm his hosts with his knowledge of Shakespeare and purposeful ignorance of societal rules, while Cluny chips the china and goes on some soul-crushing dates with local pharmacist Jonathan W. Wilson (played beautifully by Richard Haydn). We pray Cluny isn’t lulled into the pharmacy life by Wilson’s mind-melting harmonium playing; just listen closely to the way Belinski says “Cluny” compared to Wilson’s clenched “Miiizzz Brown” and your ears will confirm where true love lies. It’s a film for anyone who’s ever been put in their place, ever felt out of place, or ever found their place in the arms of another. A strong supporting cast includes Una O’Connor, who literally snores her way through the film, and Helen Walker (Nightmare Alley) as a brassy society lady with all the best comebacks. (RL)
100 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA
Preceded by: Popeye the Sailor in “Plumbing is a ‘Pipe’” (Dave Fleischer, 1938) – 16mm – 8 min

Posted in News | Comments Off on Last Vestige of the Lubitsch Touch This Wednesday: Masterful Cluny Brown in 35mm – Not Available on DVD