Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10
Monday, June 18 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by Howard Hawks • 1959
What is a Western? If you come to the genre expecting expansive natural landscapes, daring feats of horsemanship, and a deep engagement with the trailways of American history, then Rio Bravo falls flat on its face like a hooch-guzzling saloon dweller. If you want your Westerns to be about relationships, honor, purple light in the canyon, and the inexhaustibly fine line between “good” and “good enough,” then Rio Bravo is just about perfect. Conceived for the narrowly parochial purpose of rebutting the whiny indecisiveness of High Noon, Howard Hawks and his screenwriters Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett crafted a response so rich in human detail as to make the casus belli irrelevant. John Wayne stars as John T. Chance, a small town sheriff who must keep the peace with a task force that embarrasses his conservative sense of professionalism: a drunken deputy (Dean Martin), a guitar-slinging kid (dreamy Ricky Nelson), a game-legged oldster (dreamy Walter Brennan), a fiercely independent woman (stunning Angie Dickinson), and a loquacious hotel-keeper (Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez). Make no mistake: Rio Bravo is an ambling, seemingly shapeless movie that thinks nothing of stopping the action for a song or two, but the screenplay is a genuine model of economy and an endless fount of arid wisdom. (Sample dialogue from Wayne: “I’d say he’s so good, he doesn’t feel he has to prove it.”) Photographed in fade-prone Eastmancolor but originally released in Technicolor prints, Rio Bravo has been cursed in later years with substandard copies that look about as appealing as Dean Martin’s stubbled chin. We are proud to present one of our favorite films in a sparkling IB Technicolor print. (KW)
141 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm IB Tech from private collections, permission Warner Bros.
Preceded by: ’50s Westerns Trailer Reel
And coming later this week …
The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3
Wednesday, June 20 @ 7:30 PM
THE HAPPY TIME
Directed by Richard Fleischer • 1952
While waiting over a year for mercurial RKO head Howard Hughes to sign off on his B-picture breakthrough, The Narrow Margin, journeyman filmmaker Richard Fleischer anxiously dreamt of moving up a rung or two in the Hollywood racket. The opportunity finally came when Stanley Kramer offered Fleischer the chance to direct The Happy Time for his eponymous production company at Columbia — a project that Fleischer giddily described as “no melodrama, no murders, no evil wooden puppets, but people, warm, human, alive, and funny.” Based on a Robert Fontaine novel that had already been imported to Broadway by Rodgers and Hammerstein (oddly, not as a musical — that would have to wait for the Kander & Ebb version of 1968), The Happy Time is a curious effort to bring together the sentimental coming-of-age story and the ever-so-slightly-blue sex comedy. (The original tagline: “Finally a Film on That Touchy Titillating Topic!”) Disney mainstay Bobby Driscoll stars as Robert ‘Bibi’ Bonard, a French-Canadian kid growing up in Ottawa in the mid-1920s. Surrounded by a family of aspiring roués (uncle Louis Jourdan, “the Casanova of Canada”), aging carousers (grandpère Marcel Dalio), and unaccountably level-headed folks (father Charles Boyer), Bibi develops a crush on magician’s-assistant-turned-housemaid Mignonette (Linda Christian) and learns to stick up for himself. (KW)
94 min • Stanley Kramer Productions • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Short: “Your Thrift Habits” (Coronet Films, 1948) – 11 min – 16mm