The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2
Tuesday, April 10 @ 7:30 PM
THE MAN FROM PLANET X
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer • 1951
As a mysterious “Planet X” hurtles towards Earth, mustachioed journalist John Lawrence (sci-fi staple Robert Clarke) is invited by a professor friend to the spot where it will come nearest to our planet — deep in the Scottish moors, where the fog machines are working overtime. He’s joined there by a classic woman in distress, a shifty evil doctor, and soon enough, the titular Man from Planet X! The characters are familiar and armed with eye-rolling lines (“We’ll communicate with him geometrically!”) but director Edgar G. Ulmer creates a place of ghostly beauty with the low-budget artful stylization he became famous for in his noirs and B-movies (see Detour or Bluebeard). Filmed on the leftover sets from Victor Fleming’s Joan of Arc, The Man from Planet X feels more like a baroque fairy tale than a sci-fi film, and Ulmer’s ability to get an audience to empathize (seemingly without effort) with a creature who “speaks” with a sorrowful droning noise and has the face of a death mask is nothing less than masterful. He adds a level of depth and complexity to what might have otherwise been another forgettable genre cheapie. As Ulmer himself said, “I was trying to create art and decency, with a style.” (RL)
71 min • Mid-Century Film Productions • 35mm from Park Circus
Cartoon: “Hare-Way to the Stars” (Chuck Jones, 1958) – 35mm – 7 min
Please note: our April 7 screening of A Million Bid has been re-scheduled for April 21
Saturday, April 21 @ 11:30 AM
Music Box Theatre / Live Accompaniment from Music Box Organist Dennis Scott
A MILLION BID
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1927
Shortly after Warner Bros. acquired the assets of the ailing Vitagraph Company of America in 1925, the studio embarked on a remake of the latter’s 1914 melodrama A Million Bid. From the start Warner recognized the material’s aptness for contract starlet Dolores Costello (dubbed “The Belle of the Box Office” by the studio), but cycled through several directors—including Alan Crosland and Roy Del Ruth—before ultimately giving the assignment to Hungarian émigré Michael Curtiz, who needed a low-key follow-up to his ostentatious and much-publicized American debut The Third Degree. The plot is high seas hokum: Costello loves a young surgeon (Malcolm McGregor) but is betrothed to a wealthy jerk (Warner Oland) who ponied up a million bucks for the privilege. Oland eventually forces himself upon Costello aboard his yacht (where else?), but a violent storm interrupts his plunder, causing the rapacious millionaire to develop amnesia in the aftermath. The 1914 version of A Million Bid is presumed lost, and for decades it was assumed that the 1927 remake suffered the same fate. A tinted nitrate print with Italian titles was discovered at Cineteca del Comune di Bologna, and became the basis for this restoration from the Library of Congress and L’immagine Ritrovata in 2004. (KW)
65 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from Library of Congress
Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10
Monday, March 26 @ 7:00 PM
LUST IN THE DUST
Directed by Paul Bartel • 1985
One of the most overlooked talents to come out Roger Corman’s AIP director mill, Paul Bartel never demonstrated the interest in pursuing Hollywood filmmaking that so many of his cine-brat compatriots did, continuing to make the sort of unfashionable, high-concept, and decidedly independent B-pictures his peers had long since abandoned well into the ’90s. Bartel’s Western-comedy Lust in the Dust may have been advertised as something akin to a queer Blazing Saddles, but in its ambling, affable way, it is far more faithful to the genre’s B-movie roots than most of the Westerns produced during the revisionist heyday. Reuniting gay icons Tab Hunter and Divine, previously seen together in John Waters’s Polyester, Lust in the Dust is ostensibly concerned with a love triangle between Hunter’s gunslinger Abel Wood, Divine’s chorus girl-cum-prostitute Rosie Velez, and saloon-owner Marguerita (played by Barbra Streisand’s understudy Lainie Kazan, who, in her musical number “South of My Border,” steals the whole damn movie). There’s some nonsense about a search for gold, but Bartel is most excited just to play in his genre sandbox, trying on tropes (the New Mexico-shot vistas are a particular highlight) and casting off any useless seriousness. (CW)
84 min • New World Pictures • 35mm from Allan Glaser
Film Stock: AGFA
Presented with Chicago Filmmakers
Short: “The Secret Cinema” (Paul Bartel, 1966) – 35mm – 30 min
“The Secret Cinema” has been newly restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by The George Lucas Family Foundation.
Tickets on sale here!
Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 • Seniors: $9 • MBT Members: $7
Saturday, March 10 @ Noon
LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE
Directed by Colin Campbell • 1918
Live Accompaniment from Music Box Organist Dennis Scott
One of the final features produced by Chicago’s own Selig Polyscope before the company’s bankruptcy, Little Orphant Annie is a film steeped in deprivation: children fight over dinners rescued from garbage cans by day, and cower under the covers, menaced by grotesque puppet monsters, by night. Into the breach steps Little Orphant Annie (Colleen Moore, in her earliest extant performance), an eternal optimist and skilled storyteller whose fireside parables teach the other ragamuffins that “the Gobble-uns’ll git you Ef you Don’t Watch Out!” Adapted from the 1885 poem by Indiana’s favorite son James Whitcomb Riley that would later inspire the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, the film version is a work of dark whimsy to stand beside other silent fairy tale productions such as The Blue Bird and Peter Pan, albeit with a higher proportion of cardboard and tarpaulin to outright wonder. (Riley himself, two years deceased at the time of the film’s release, appears as a stock footage apparition at the beginning and the end.) Long available only in tattered and incomplete 16mm prints derived from a 1926 reissue that omitted all production credits, Little Orphant Annie has been painstakingly reconstructed by independent archivist Eric Grayson using materials from the Library of Congress and assorted film collectors. (KW)
Introduced by Eric Grayson.
58 min • Selig Polyscope Company • 35mm from Eric Grayson
Short: “The Haunted Hotel” (J. Stuart Blackton, 1907) – 16mm – 5 min