Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man): Warren Beatty’s Delirious Dick Tracy in 35mm – Music Box, Nov. 27

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7 • High Roller: $10

Monday, Nov 27 @ 7:00PM
DICK TRACY
Directed by Warren Beatty • 1990
If Beetlejuice can step into the cap and cowl of the Dark Knight, why can’t John Reed play Chester Gould’s comic strip crime-stopper? A long-gestating project (Alain Resnais was briefly attached to direct) that finally hit theaters after Tim Burton’s Batman had fatally altered the blockbuster paradigm, Dick Tracy was the first film to gross $100 million and still be judged a flop. Revisited today, it’s a romantic, auteur-driven take on the comic book movie, and the road not traveled for an increasingly bottom-line-obsessed genre. While Marvel and DC efforts are forever teasing the next chapter in their cinematic universes, Dick Tracy crams in so many incidents and villains (Itchy! 88 Keys! The Rodent! Flattop! Pruneface! Dustin Hoffman as Mumbles! Al Pacino, an Oscar nominee, as Big Boy Caprice!) as to make a sequel unfathomable and mildly nausea-inducing. And no subsequent comic book movie has been as invested in working within the parameters of its four-color source material, faithfully recreated and deliriously explored through Richard Sylbert’s production design and Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography. For all the pyrotechnics, though, it’s mostly an emotionally direct, stirringly simple movie about Dick Tracy fitfully trying to be a better boyfriend. With songs by Stephen Sondheim, singing by Madonna, and spittle-flecked mugging from everyone else. (KW)
105 min • Touchstone Pictures • 35mm from Chicago Film Society collections, permission Swank

Preceded by: Roger Rabbit in “Roller Coaster Rabbit” (Frank Marshall and Rob Minkoff, 1990) – 35mm – 7 min

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But that’s not all!

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

Wednesday, November 29 @ 7:30 PM
IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE
Directed by Alfred Werker • 1933
45th Anniversary of the Memory Club with an Appearance from Chuck Schaden
A musical remake of The Last Man on Earth produced during the lascivious pre-Code era, It’s Great To Be Alive hardly stints on the racy implications of its premise. Brazilian crooner Raul Roulien stars as the last surviving XY specimen, a dashing aviator who accidentally missed the masculinitis epidemic by pouting the years away on a remote island after being teased once too often by gal pal Gloria Stuart. And his discovery couldn’t come at a better time—Edna May Oliver’s efforts to create a Synthetic Man in her laboratory have run aground. After treating Roulien to a ticker-tape parade, the women of the world compete for his affections through a dance showcase. Cuba, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands—show us what you’ve got! One of a seemingly endless roster of neglected Fox musicals, It’s Great To Be Alive features a handful of numbers from forgotten composer William Kernell, including “I’ll Build a Nest” and “Good Bye, Ladies.” Fox had hoped to build up Roulien as a major star, but alas, his third-billed role in RKO’s Flying Down to Rio later that year hardly helped; his planned breakthrough was overshadowed by fourth- and fifth-billed Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Though his career in movies proved too short, Roulien himself never fell victim to masculinitis: he lived to be 94! Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.(KW)
69 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, permission Criterion Pictures
Preceded by: “Any Little Girl That’s a Nice Little Girl” (Fleischer Studios, 1931) – 16mm – 7 min

And check out the rest of the season here.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man): Warren Beatty’s Delirious Dick Tracy in 35mm – Music Box, Nov. 27

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Forgotten (& Fictionalized) Slice of American History: Anthony Mann’s 19th Century Railroad Noir The Tall Target – 35mm Screening, Nov. 22

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

Wednesday, November 22 @ 7:30 PM
THE TALL TARGET
Directed by Anthony Mann • 1951
Based on the Baltimore Plot, an alleged attempt to assassinate President Lincoln days before his inauguration, The Tall Target stars Dick Powell as New York policeman John Kennedy (no relation, really!), who learns of the threat on Lincoln’s life and goes vigilante to save the president-elect on board a train full of Yankees and Rebels traveling on the Night Express from Jersey City to Washington. Eschewing any musical score (unless you count the screeches and wails of the train careening through the night), Anthony Mann creates one of the tensest political thrillers ever, despite the inevitability that the Tall Target won’t die this time. A modest financial failure on its initial release, The Tall Target presents a perennially relevant microcosm of Americans against Americans. With wiley Adolphe Menjou as the very corrupt Colonel Caleb Jeffers, Marshall Thompson as a pistol-slinging Confederate, and Ruby Dee in one of her earliest roles. (JA)
78 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Preceded by: “Porky’s Railroad” (Frank Tashlin, 1937) – 16mm – 7 min

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Last month we had to cancel our screening of Monte Carlo due to a shipping error. It has now been re-scheduled for Monday, December 11 at 7:30PM at NEIU. Mark your calendars!

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

Monday, December 11 @ 7:30 PM
MONTE CARLO: THE SILENT VERSION
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1930
Live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren
Crack open any film history textbook and you’ll likely find an extended description of a sequence in Monte Carlo: runaway bride Jeanette MacDonald reclines in a train car and belts out “Beyond the Blue Horizon” with the clang of the engine and the whir of the wheels providing the syncopation. When placed beside the mumbly milestones of the very earliest talkies like The Jazz Singer and The Lights of New York, this simple production number in Monte Carlo looked like a quantum leap and pointed the way towards the creative application of sound technology. And yet this musical chestnut was also distributed mute in the waning days of the silent era, offered to theaters that had not yet been wired for sound. The plot—penniless countess MacDonald flees her wedding for Monte Carlo, where she hopes to gamble her way to financial stability but winds up instead with a count (Jack Buchanan) whom she mistakes for a hairdresser—follows the sound version, but clocks in twenty minutes shorter without all the songs. Discovered among reels of nitrate at the Paramount Pictures lot, the silent version of Monte Carlo was one of dozens of films donated to the American Film Institute in 1968 through the efforts of the late archivist David Shepard. (KW)
71 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Universal
Preceded by: Fractured Flickers: “Pilot Episode” (Jay Ward Productions, 1961) – 16mm – 24 min

And check out the rest of the season here.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Forgotten (& Fictionalized) Slice of American History: Anthony Mann’s 19th Century Railroad Noir The Tall Target – 35mm Screening, Nov. 22

What Fate Awaits The Last Man on Earth? Discover This Hilarious Silent Comedy in a 35mm Print from MoMA – Nov. 11 at the Music Box, Accompanied by Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission Tickets – $11 / Senior Tickets – $9 / Music Box Members – $7

Saturday, November 11 @ Noon
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
Directed by J.G. Blystone • 1924
Live accompaniment by Dennis Scott, Music Box House Organist
Not to be confused with the post-apocalyptic Vincent Price vs. zombies pic adapted from Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the silent version of The Last Man on Earth is a work of speculative science fiction super-charged by festering 19th Amendment anxieties. It’s 1954 and the world has been beset by a global pandemic of masculinitis, a disease that mysteriously kills off all men aged fourteen years and older. Eventually one straggler (Earle Foxe) is discovered in the forest, a tree-dwelling Rip Van Winkle utterly unprepared to become a planetary sex symbol. (His childhood crush once taunted him, saying she wouldn’t marry him if he was the last man on earth. Who’s laughing now?) Foxe is soon set upon by female gangsters, female politicians, female scientists, female everything. The climax even comes down to an extended boxing match between the “Senatoresses” from California and Massachusetts! “The girls really amount to very little, except that there are so many of them,” lamented Variety. “In fact the picture is just a super bathing-girl comedy and would prove a great attraction for the average burlesque houses.” Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The National Film Preservation Foundation (KW)
70 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, permission Fox
Preceded by: “It’s the Cats” (Fleischer Studios, 1926) – 7 min, 16mm

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Last month we had to cancel our screening of Monte Carlo due to a shipping error. It has now been re-scheduled for Monday, December 11 at 7:30PM at NEIU. Mark your calendars!

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

Monday, December 11 @ 7:30 PM
MONTE CARLO: THE SILENT VERSION
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1930
Live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren
Crack open any film history textbook and you’ll likely find an extended description of a sequence in Monte Carlo: runaway bride Jeanette MacDonald reclines in a train car and belts out “Beyond the Blue Horizon” with the clang of the engine and the whir of the wheels providing the syncopation. When placed beside the mumbly milestones of the very earliest talkies like The Jazz Singer and The Lights of New York, this simple production number in Monte Carlo looked like a quantum leap and pointed the way towards the creative application of sound technology. And yet this musical chestnut was also distributed mute in the waning days of the silent era, offered to theaters that had not yet been wired for sound. The plot—penniless countess MacDonald flees her wedding for Monte Carlo, where she hopes to gamble her way to financial stability but winds up instead with a count (Jack Buchanan) whom she mistakes for a hairdresser—follows the sound version, but clocks in twenty minutes shorter without all the songs. Discovered among reels of nitrate at the Paramount Pictures lot, the silent version of Monte Carlo was one of dozens of films donated to the American Film Institute in 1968 through the efforts of the late archivist David Shepard. (KW)
71 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Universal
Preceded by: Fractured Flickers: “Pilot Episode” (Jay Ward Productions, 1961) – 16mm – 24 min

 

And check out the rest of the season here.

Posted in News | Comments Off on What Fate Awaits The Last Man on Earth? Discover This Hilarious Silent Comedy in a 35mm Print from MoMA – Nov. 11 at the Music Box, Accompanied by Dennis Scott