Monthly Archives: February 2018

Jacques Tourneur’s Rare Argentine Western Way of a Gaucho Screens in a 35mm Vault Print – March 7

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, March 7 @ 7:30 PM
WAY OF A GAUCHO
Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1952
Just in case you missed our recent screenings of Canyon Passage and Anne of the Indies we’re giving you a third opportunity (offer valid while supplies last!) to experience the sheer and unfettered joy that is a Technicolor Jacques Tourneur film. Rory Calhoun (How to Marry a Millionaire, The Texan) plays a fiery young gaucho who is forced into military service after killing a man in a duel. He quickly deserts and finds himself leading a group of radicalized locals in the fight against the building of a railroad across their land, but a love affair soon complicates his plans for rebellion. Richard Boone (as the militia major hot on Calhoun’s tail) and Gene Tierney co-star in this Argentine Western adapted from a novel by screenwriter Philip Dunne (How Green Was My Valley, The Agony and the Ecstasy), but the real allure of the film lies in its eye-popping location. With the exception of a few scenes, it was shot almost entirely in the Andes Mountains and on the Argentine pampas; think Gene Tierney lounging supine in the lowland grasses and former real-life cowboy Rory Calhoun maneuvering his horse ably in front of snow-capped peaks and endless sky. (RL)
93 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “The Face Behind the Mask” (Jacques Tourneur, 1938) – 16mm – 11 min

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Not Enough Hippie Modernism in Your Life? Steven Arnold’s Luminous Procuress Will Fix That – Chicago Premiere of the Restored 16mm Print from BAM/PFA

Film Studies Center at The Logan Center for the Arts
915 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637 • Free Admission

Friday, February 23 @ 7:00 PM
LUMINOUS PROCURESS
Directed by Steven Arnold • 1971
Co-presented by the Film Studies Center
The only feature film of photographer, designer, and Salvador Dalí protégé Steven Arnold, Luminous Procuress is that rarest of endeavors—a lavishly appointed queer underground epic that was tipped as a potential cross-over hit by investors besotted with the softcore success of I Am Curious,Yellow. The cosmic aspirations of this wide-eyed hippie bacchanal are in no way diminished by the fact that it was shot in an abandoned industrial laundry works in San Francisco’s Mission District. As two shaggy-haired simpletons are initiated by the mysterious Procuress, we are guided through a series of sparkling, Kodachrome tableaux of frank couplings, backed by Warner Jepson’s soupy synth score. The Cockettes, the renowned drag troupe that got its start at Arnold’s midnight movie séances, are on hand to provide color commentary. Luminous Procuress premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival, played Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, and received a run at the Whitney before vanishing almost entirely from the avant-garde canon. Newly preserved by BAM/PFA in partnership with the Walker Art Center, Luminous Procuress returns to us, per J. Hoberman, as a “blend of art nouveau stylization, occult rituals, Hollywood camp, and rampant orientalism.” (KW)
75 min • Paramour Pictures • 16mm from Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

 

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Vincente Minnelli’s Garish Masterpiece Two Weeks in Another Town Screens Feb. 19 in 35mm Cinemascope

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10

Monday, February 19 @ 7:00 PM
TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN
Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1962
Adapted from a free-standing novel by Irvin Shaw but effectively retrofitted by director Vincente Minnelli, screenwriter Charles Schnee, producer John Houseman, star Kirk Douglas, and composer David Raksin as a spiritual sequel to their own Oscar-winning Tinsel Town satire The Bad and the Beautiful, Two Weeks in Another Town is a mad melodrama that charts Hollywood’s decline while frolicking in the detritus. Douglas stars as Jack Andrus, the Serious Actor discharged from a high-end sanitarium after a cablegram calls him to Rome for two weeks of work at Cinecitta under the direction of longtime collaborator Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson). Upon his arrival, Andrus finds sun-dappled seaside rot: a runaway production that Kruger cannot control, dub-happy actors speaking past each other in different languages on the set, crass financiers who don’t give a damn about showmanship. Like a Henry James story turned inside out, this Metrocolor debauchery circus plays American neuroses against European cynicism and everybody comes up plastered. Shot immediately after Minnelli’s own deeply demoralizing experience on the international co-production The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Two Weeks in Another Town plays like a documentary that really wants to be a psychodrama instead, a craggly self-portrait rounded up to Greek tragedy. With supporting turns from Cyd Charisse, Claire Trevor, and George Hamilton. (KW)
107 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Short: Production Featurette for The Cardinal (Otto Preminger, 1963) – 35mm Technicolor – 8 min

 

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Tod Browning’s Drifting – Newly Restored 35mm Print Screens Feb. 17 at the Music Box with Live Organ Accompaniment from Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 • Seniors: $9 • MBT Members: $7

Saturday, February 17 @  11:30 AM 
DRIFTING
Directed by Tod Browning • 1923
Live Accompaniment from Music Box Organist Dennis Scott
Before he embarked on a series of macabre classics with Lon Chaney for the newly amalgamated M-G-M, Tod Browning was an accomplished director of crime films and melodramas at Universal. Drifting, his last film for that studio, is an old-fashioned barnstormer about the drug trade, loose morals, and the redemptive power of love. Based on a 1910 play by John Colton that had enjoyed a successful Broadway revival in 1922, Drifting toned down its source material considerably at the request of Browning’s regular star Priscilla Dean (Outside the Law), whose “lady of easy virtue” became a run-of-the-mill opium smuggler in China. (Hollywood’s unaccountably vigorous effort to translate the outré provocations of Colton, a gay playwright with a yin for Orientalist absurdity, to the cinema yielded a kind of deranged, censor-sculpted surrealism; when Colton’s The Shanghai Gesture reached the screen in 1941, brothel proprietress Mother Goddamn became the no-less-ridiculous Mother Gin Sling.) Dean’s petty criminal finds herself making common cause with her underworld rival Wallace Beery and strives to throw government agent Matt Moore off their trail. An eighteen-year-old Anna May Wong appears as a local opium supplier’s daughter, who develops a crush on Moore. The unsigned New York Times review probably says it best: “a very improbable story, directed with gusty flights of imagination.” Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation. (KW)
82 min • Universal • 35mm from George Eastman Museum
Short: “The Great Wall of China” (CineArts Production, 1930) – 16mm – 7 min

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Don’t rest on your laurels. We have another big, big show coming up on Monday.

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10

Monday, February 19 @ 7:00 PM
TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN
Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1962
Adapted from a free-standing novel by Irvin Shaw but effectively retrofitted by director Vincente Minnelli, screenwriter Charles Schnee, producer John Houseman, star Kirk Douglas, and composer David Raksin as a spiritual sequel to their own Oscar-winning Tinsel Town satire The Bad and the Beautiful, Two Weeks in Another Town is a mad melodrama that charts Hollywood’s decline while frolicking in the detritus. Douglas stars as Jack Andrus, the Serious Actor discharged from a high-end sanitarium after a cablegram calls him to Rome for two weeks of work at Cinecitta under the direction of longtime collaborator Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson). Upon his arrival, Andrus finds sun-dappled seaside rot: a runaway production that Kruger cannot control, dub-happy actors speaking past each other in different languages on the set, crass financiers who don’t give a damn about showmanship. Like a Henry James story turned inside out, this Metrocolor debauchery circus plays American neuroses against European cynicism and everybody comes up plastered. Shot immediately after Minnelli’s own deeply demoralizing experience on the international co-production The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Two Weeks in Another Town plays like a documentary that really wants to be a psychodrama instead, a craggly self-portrait rounded up to Greek tragedy. With supporting turns from Cyd Charisse, Claire Trevor, and George Hamilton. (KW)
107 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Short: Production Featurette for The Cardinal (Otto Preminger, 1963) – 35mm Technicolor – 8 min

 

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Spend V-Day with RWF: Fassbinder’s Grotesque Rom Com Satan’s Brew Screens on Feb. 14 in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, February 14 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
SATAN’S BREW
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1976
In German with English subtitles.
Despite evincing a gift for humor throughout his career, the hyper-prolific and ever-controversial Rainer Werner Fassbinder only once tried his hand at making an out-and-out comedy. That film, Satan’s Brew, just so happened to be one of his most venomous cavalcades of perversion, an anarchic farce trafficking in bad taste and extremely poor manners. Kurt Raab stars as an acclaimed poet desperately avoiding work and looking for new ways to exploit his family and acquaintances in an effort to keep his libido sated and his bank account from being overdrawn. While his beleaguered wife and brother (whose tragic sexual attraction to flies stands among the film’s more baroque touches) live hand-to-mouth in their own filth, Raab’s poet cycles through a series of female benefactors, publicly declares himself the reincarnation of poet Stefan George, and sows a measure of misery extreme even for a Fassbinder film. Be sure to bring along dein Liebling this Valentine’s Day for an evening of insect fondling, fraternal spanking, breakfast expectorating, and other acts of romance. With Volker Spengler, Y Sa Lo, the recently departed Ulli Lommel, and more of your favorite Fassbinder regulars. (CW)
112 min • Albatros Filmproduktion • 35mm from Janus
Cartoon: “Ein Stachliges Vergnügen” (Heinz Nagel, 1976) – 35mm – 9 min (unsubtitled)

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“Help Me Make It Through the Night”: John Huston’s Late Masterpiece Fat City Returns to the Ring in 35mm – Feb. 7

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, February 7 @ 7:30 PM
FAT CITY
Directed by John Huston • 1972
You can expect a film that opens and closes with Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” to leave some bruises behind after the credits scroll, and Fat City does not disappoint. Two fighters meet and spar in a YMCA, one fresh-faced and climbing, one boozed-up and falling fast. There’s only a 12-year age difference between tenderfoot Ernie Munger (a coltish Jeff Bridges) and the washed-up Billy Tully (played by Stacy Keach), but in this town that’s all that lies between the promise of youth and a lifetime of failure. The fight scenes are pathetic, scrambling affairs and pale in comparison to bouts between lovers Billy and Oma (played by Susan Tyrrell in one of the most viciously accurate portrayals of an onscreen drunk). Shot by the great Conrad Hall (In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke) and penned by ex-fighter Leonard Gardner (adapted from his own novel), it’s a deeply loving portrait of the occupants of Stockton, California’s skid row, most of which was bulldozed immediately after the production to make way for a freeway. Fat City’s existential blows are softened by how real it is: a tender hug between fighters after a brutal bout, the casual adjustment of a fallen zipper on a woman’s dress, a confession of love between daytime drunks. As critic Vincent Canby wrote, “This is grim material but Fat City is too full of life to be as truly dire as it sounds.” (RL)
96 min • Columbia • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Short: “Dick the Bruiser vs. Chest Bernard” (Russ Davis, 1955)  – 16mm – 13 min – Courtesy of Chicago Film Archives

 

 

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