This season’s screenings will now be held at the Patio Theater, 6008 W Irving Park Road due to the sudden closing of the Portage Theater.
Admission is always $5.
Programmed and Projected by Julian Antos, Becca Hall, and Kyle Westphal
Wednesday, May 1 @ 7:30pm
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
Directed by John Ford • 1962
Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) returns to the town of Shinbone for the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) and recounts the decades-old shooting of outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) to two local reporters. There’s nothing unusual about the premise: Wayne is an emotionally damaged cowboy, Stewart is morally upstanding but physically weak, Marvin is despicable, the town sheriff is a drunken coward . . . we’ve met all these people before but, seen almost entirely in flashback, these familiar characters take on new life. Wayne and Stewart are clearly older than they’re supposed to be in the story, but that only helps the half-remembered, dreamlike state of the film: darkly lit and with a very sparse set, the film makes the case that it doesn’t really matter whether our past is real or imagined. Ford’s only film in the ’60s shot in black and white, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a film of shadows and light, and more or less the last word on the classic American Western without being a caricature of it. (JA)
123 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Paramount
Preceded by: Will Penny Production Featurette with Charlton Heston (1968) – 16mm Technicolor – 6 min
Wednesday, May 8 @ 7:30pm
Directed by David Butler • 1931
Most studios responded to the talkie revolution by importing high-class talent from Broadway. Fox, on the other hand, had the chutzpah to put forward its immensely popular silent screen team of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell (7th Heaven, Street Angel) as the latest light opera sensation. When their bubbly musical debut Sunny Side Up proved a blockbuster, Fox ordered a follow-up and hired no less than George and Ira Gershwin to provide the score—the brothers’ first work for the movies. From this innocuous little story—Scottish immigrant Gaynor meets boy millionaire Farrell in steerage en route to Ellis Island—spring several popular Gershwin standards, including “Blah Blah Blah” and the “Second Rhapsody.” (The latter’s introduced in an extended sequence as Gaynor flees through an expressionist nightmare of Gotham.) An uncommonly optimistic vision of the American melting pot in the depths of the Great Depression—there’s even room for the antics of El Brendel. (KW)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
106 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from 20th Century Fox
Preceded by: Laurel & Hardy in “Putting Pants on Phillip” (Clyde Bruckman, 1927) – 16mm – 21 min
Monday, May 13 @ 7:30pm
THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT)
Directed by Jacques Demy • 1967
It’s another summer in the French port city of Rochefort: you can’t walk down the sunny boulevards without bumping into hunky, dancing sailors or poetry-loving traveling carnies. Twin sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac canoodle and caterwaul about the humdrum happenings, longing for the urbane depravity of Paris. Although director and lyricist Jacques Demy takes the Technicolor MGM musicals as his model (the prevailing color scheme might be described as birthday cake pastel), Rochefort is more than a French love letter to American optimism and ingenuity: for Demy, the musical is not so much a genre as a viable template for envisioning and engaging with the world. Featuring a stellar jazz score by Michel Legrand and a supporting cast that includes Danielle Darrieux, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin, George Chakiris, and a spry, Francophone Gene Kelly. (KW)
In French with English subtitles
125 min • Parc Film / Madeleine Films • 35mm from Park Circus
Preceded by: “Umbrella” (Qolga) (Mikheil Kobakhidze, 1967) – 16mm – 20 min
Wednesday, May 15 @ 7:30pm
Directed by André de Toth • 1944
Oil heiress Merle Oberon survives a Nazi submarine attack, but soon discovers fates worse than death. Oberon journeys to Louisiana to live peaceably at her aunt and uncle’s plantation but winds up menaced by everybody from shady family friend Thomas Mitchell to Cajun overseer Elisha Cook, Jr. (!), all of whom share an uncommon curiosity about the minute details of her trauma. Can recitation and recollection depose reality? Released during the golden age of woman-in-peril thrillers and spiced up with all the standard-issue psychological trimmings, Dark Waters remains an outstanding example of its hazy, semi-feminist subgenre. (With a screenplay by Rebecca and Suspicion scribe Joan Harrison, its pedigree is beyond dispute.) Dark Waters succeeds in large measure because of de Toth’s attention to texture and atmosphere—a studio rendition of Southern Gothic so expert that it managed to fool real bayou dwellers. (KW)
90 min • United Artists • 35mm from private collections
Preceded by: Columbia Comedy Two-Reeler “You Dear Boy” (Jules White, 1943) – 16mm – 16 min
Wednesday, May 22 @ 7:30pm
Directed by John Boorman • 1974
The poster promised a mind-blowing, adults-only science fiction experience—Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death. Audiences got all that and sinewy Sean Connery in a post-Bond bender, sporting a ponytail and a loincloth as monosyllabic killing machine Zed. Appointed with an endless supply of guns from a talking stone head hovering in the sky, Zed keeps the peace by slaughtering the unwashed hordes—until he learns to read and discovers a world beyond his brutal plain. Skeptically adopted by a commune of entitled immortals led by Charlotte Rampling and Sara Kestelman, Zed single-handedly upends the balance of life on Earth. Gratuitously ridiculed upon its release (in all fairness, the original prints looked like dishwater), Zardoz remains an ambitious and sincere statement from Point Blank director John Boorman—and the final word on the disintegration of Flower Power idealism. (KW)
105 min • 20th Century Fox • 35mm vault print from 20th Century Fox
Preceded by: TBA
Monday, May 27 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
ALL I DESIRE
Directed by Douglas Sirk • 1953
Barbara Stanwyck returns to Riverdale, Wisconsin, ten years after abandoning her family for a career on the stage. Hoping not to disappoint her daughter Lily (Lori Nelson), who invited her to come see her stage debut in a high school play, Stanwyck convinces her bitter ex-husband (Richard Carlson) and daughter Joyce (Marcia Henderson) that her failed career is a success. Buried love affairs resurface and the whole cast is either emotionally wounded or confused, but the poisonously curious, prying small town is the nastiest character of them all. Bridging a gap between his trilogy of Technicolor Americana musicals and his career-defining melodramas, All I Desire is an honest, forgiving, and sometimes painful examination of small town life at the turn of the century. It’s also melodrama at its most delicious: in a scene only Sirk could have directed, Stanwyck confronts Joyce, who’s never forgiven her for leaving: “We’re a big disappointment to each other, aren’t we? You’ve got a mother with no principles; I’ve got a daughter with no guts.” (JA)
79 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: “Betty Boop’s Prize Show” (Fleischer Studios, 1934) – 16mm – 7 min
Wednesday, May 29 @ 7:00pm at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
PORTRAIT OF JASON
Directed by Shirley Clarke • 1967
Armed with an Éclair 16mm camera and the most basic sound and lighting equipment, Shirley Clarke and her small crew holed up in her Chelsea Hotel apartment for twelve hours with hustler, cabaret mainstay, and seasoned raconteur Jason Holliday. They emerged with some kind of masterpiece. Before the camera, Holliday (né Aaron Payne of Trenton, New Jersey) spins the most rambunctious autobiography imaginable. Mixing treasured routines, dirty jokes, guilt-free confessions, and bullshit revelations, Holliday lies through his teeth to create the performance of a lifetime. Newly restored by Milestone Films and the Academy Film Archive after an exhaustive search for the best surviving materials and a highly publicized Kickstarter campaign, Portrait of Jason remains an essential document of one queer, black man’s adventures in crazy, pre-Stonewall America. (KW)
Chicago Restoration Premiere co-presented with Reeling and Black Cinema House.
105 min • Filmmakers’ Distribution Center • 35mm from Milestone Films
Preceded by TBA
Wednesday, June 5 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Maurice Elvey • 1929
Official film history records Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail as the first British talkie—a classic right out of the gate. Had the release of Blackmail been delayed, the trailblazing would’ve been left to High Treason, an eccentric Metropolis rip-off that alternates hectoring pacifism with lingerie peekaboo. Set in a futuristic 1940, High Treason envisions an imminent war between the world’s reigning superpowers, the United States of Europe and the Empire States of the Atlantic. Only the extralegal (and none too peaceful) maneuvering of the Peace League can save a world brought to the brink by scheming munitions manufacturers. Described by the New York Times as “a farrago of nonsense” that nevertheless offered American technicians much to learn, High Treason has been difficult to reevaluate in the intervening eight decades. Originally released in silent and sound versions, only the former was thought to survive until the Library of Congress restored the talkie version in partnership with the Film Foundation, Chace Audio, and the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association. (KW)
95 min • Gaumont British Pictures Corp. • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Preceded by: King of the Kongo, Ch. 5: “Danger in the Dark” (Richard Thorpe, 1929) – 16mm – 16 min
Monday, June 10 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
ACE IN THE HOLE
Directed by Billy Wilder • 1951
After being fired from his last eleven jobs, Kirk Douglas takes that left turn in Albuquerque and convinces the local newspaper editor to hire him on the spot. When he leaves town to cover a rattlesnake competition, Douglas discovers a bigger headline in an abandoned silver mine: the owner of a nearby trading post has been pinned down by fallen timbers. The reporter makes the news, keeping his victim in the mine for days while he creates a media frenzy and charges the public twenty-five cents to get into the surrounding area. Billy Wilder’s gritty, twisted, and menacing follow-up to Sunset Blvd. was hardly what American audiences wanted or expected. (A panicked Paramount withdrew the film and reissued it under the new title The Big Carnival with little success.) Wilder could make you laugh or cry as well as anyone, but Ace in the Hole is a firm kick in the gut. (JA)
111 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Paramount
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 16mm – 7 min
Wednesday, June 12 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
CHICANO LOVE IS FOREVER (AMOR CHICANO ES PARA SIEMPRE)
Directed by Efraín Gutiérrez • 1977
When Efraín Gutiérrez began making films in San Antonio, he had no technical experience, only a conviction that Hollywood stereotypes demanded an answer from the Chicano community. He boasted of never shooting more than three takes of any given scene and endorsed one writer’s suggestion that he was “a Chicano Ed Wood with a political conscience.” His first film, Please Don’t Bury Me Alive, earned $300,000 on the Spanish-language theater circuit, besting the exploitation pictures turned out by Mexican outfits and clearing the way for a genuinely regional independent cinema. Gutiérrez poured the proceeds into Chicano Love is Forever, a hard-hitting drama about the pressures facing a young married couple struggling through college and low-wage work. (Gutiérrez also plays the husband.) Presumed lost for almost twenty years until rediscovered by scholar Chon Noriega and restored by UCLA, Chicano Love is Forever is a vital landmark of bilingual social cinema. Preservation funded by the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States. (KW)
In English and unsubtitled Spanish. Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
103 min • Chicano Arts Film Enterprises • 35mm from UCLA Film & Television Archive
Preceded by: “The Chicano Wave” (La Onda Chicana) (Efrain Gutierrez, 1976) – 35mm – 17 min
Preservation funded by the Ahmanson Foundation in association with the Sundance Institute and the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States. Courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Wednesday, June 19 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
THE CRIMSON KIMONO
Directed by Samuel Fuller • 1959
In downtown Los Angeles, a stripper is gunned down in the middle of the road, but what starts off as a terse, gritty thriller quickly becomes Sam Fuller’s most romantic effort, a melodrama wrapped in wolf’s clothing. Emotions run high in the grungy side streets of LA: Charlie (Glenn Corbett) and Joe (James Shigeta) are two inseparable LAPD detectives assigned to the murder case, but end up falling in love with the same key witness (Victoria Shaw) and nearly destroy their friendship. Despite being released with downright idiotic poster taglines like “Why Does She Choose a Japanese Lover?” The Crimson Kimono is also one of the most progressive movies of the ’50s. Charlie is white and Joe is Japanese American, but Fuller aggressively avoids a preachy commentary on race relations while making a film of unmatched emotional honesty. (JA)
82 min • Globe Enterprises • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: Walter Catlett in “You’re Next” (Del Lord, 1940) – 16mm – 18 min
Monday, June 24 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION
Directed by Paul Newman • 1971
When the logging town of Wakonda, Oregon, goes on strike against a large lumber conglomerate, the nonunion Stamper family, headed by Paul Newman and his father Henry Fonda, keep working and quickly become the enemy of every now-out-of-work family in town. Shot on location along the Oregon coast, the film’s characters are dwarfed by the monolithic landscape and the buzzing of chainsaws, resulting in a leafy green palette that’s simultaneously terrifying and overwhelmingly beautiful. Based on Ken Kesey’s follow-up to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Paul Newman’s second film as a director has less in common with its experimentally structured source material than it does with working-class pre-Code films like Other Men’s Women and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, mixing hard-luck violence with genuine sympathy. With Lee Remick, Richard Jaeckel, and Michael Sarrazin. Showing in an original IB Technicolor print. (JA)
114 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from private collections, permission Universal
Preceded by: “Home Movies: Salmon Fishing” (Marc Terziev, 1967) – 16mm Kodachrome – 13 min
Wednesday, June 26 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy • 1934
A sweaty, snarly helping of desert dreams and dead-end desire, Heat Lightning is a startling pre-Code drama. Aline MacMahon and Ann Dvorak play rugged sisters who run an auto garage-greasy spoon-flophouse trifecta in the middle of the Mojave, the only spot for miles around that serves bickering couples, satisfied divorcées, gangsters on the lam, and a whole car full of Mexican kids. Preceding the somewhat similar Petrified Forest by two years, Heat Lightning finds the New Deal optimism of Warner’s Busby Berkeley musicals thoroughly curdled in the arid blaze. (“Prosperity’s just across the border,” opines hood Preston Foster.) Features an impressive supporting turn from WB contract player Lyle Talbot as a jumpy bank robber who nibbles on his own necktie and murmurs “Holy cats” as if he was really cussing. (KW) New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot will introduce the film and sign copies of her new book The Entertainer, a biography of her late father Lyle Talbot.
63 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from the Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 16mm – 7 min
Wednesday, July 3 @ 7:00pm at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
Directed by Curtis Harrington • 1967
Newlywed socialites James Caan and Katharine Ross sure like them some games: their Manhattan brownstone is littered with Pop Art and pinball machines. (Their chic lifestyle was loosely based on the marriage of Harrington’s friends Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward.) But this couple is hardly prepared when exotic enchantress and traveling cosmetics saleswoman Simone Signoret proposes some new games that prove kinkier than pinochle. Occult rituals, mummification, and murder are all on the menu for this threesome in this widescreen, Day-Glo freak show from macabre master Curtis Harrington. After a quartet of avant-garde psychodramas, the dreamy independent feature Night Tide, and a quickie for Roger Corman cobbled together from Soviet sci-fi stock footage, Harrington finally had a chance to realize his boyhood dream of making a bona fide Universal monster movie. (He also managed to sneak in a cameo for his cat.) (KW) Co-presented by Drag City, publishers of Curtis Harrington’s posthumous memoir Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood.
100 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: “Puce Moment” (Kenneth Anger, 1949) – 16mm – 6 min – Courtesy of Canyon Cinema
& “The Wormwood Star” (Curtis Harrington, 1955) – 16mm – 10 min – Courtesy of Academy Film Archive
Monday, July 8 @ 8:00pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Otto Preminger • 1958
Hoping to make amends to Iowa ingénue Jean Seberg after her critically reviled debut in Saint Joan, Otto Preminger cast her as the sullen Cecile in his adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s racy best-selling novel Bonjour Tristesse. A spoiled brat with a semi-incestuous fixation on her hard-drinking playboy father (David Niven, essentially continuing his performance from Preminger’s The Moon is Blue), Seberg plots to sabotage his grown-up affair with fashion designer Deborah Kerr. Teaming up with some of the key craftspeople of the classical French cinema (photographer Georges Périnal, composer Georges Auric), Preminger emerged with a bizarre and captivating hybrid: shot on location in color and CinemaScope on the French Riviera, Bonjour Tristesse credibly proposes the teenage soap opera as a form of high art. Screenwriter Arthur Laurents would attempt the same gambit three years later in his big-screen version of West Side Story, but no film comes close to Bonjour Tristesse in taking adolescent sexuality as the most consequential subject in the world. (KW)
94 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm vault print from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: “Madeline” (Robert Cannon, 1952) – 16mm – 7 min
Wednesday, July 10 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
AN AMERICAN ROMANCE
Directed by King Vidor • 1944
A leisurely American epic that devotes nearly as much screen time to the insides of automobile factories and steel mills as it does to its narrative, An American Romance stars Brian Donlevy as an ambitious Czech immigrant who works his way up from a lowly factory worker to a wealthy industrialist. Cut from the same cloth as hyper-enthusiastic, pro-American films like This Is the Army, An American Romance may as well have been an industrial film to boost morale at General Motors, and we mean that in the best possible way: lush Technicolor photography to show off American industry at its most thrilling, mixed with acting so sincere you’d think you were in a Coronet Films educational. Okay, Donlevy’s accent may be about as convincing as Boris Badenov in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, but it also tips the film over into the land of the surreal. (JA)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
121 min • MGM • 35mm from George Eastman House, permission Warner Bros.
Preceded by: “Steel on the River Rouge” (Ford Motor Company, 1970) – 16mm Technicolor – 18 min
Wednesday, July 17 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Richard Fleischer • 1958
Mightiest Of Men . . . Mightiest Of Spectacles . . . Mightiest Of Motion Pictures! The second and final collaboration between Kirk Douglas and director Richard Fleischer (Walt Disney’s sublime 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first) stars one-eyed Douglas and his half-brother Tony Curtis as Vikings competing for the recently captured Janet Leigh, both reporting to their totally unhinged father Ernest Borgnine. Shot in color and CinemaScope in Norway by the great Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, The African Queen), The Vikings is a whirlwind spectacle built for the big screen in the same class as The Ten Commandments and Around the World in 80 Days (though much shorter). The interiors are even better, including a drunken feast in the great hall (complete with an axe-throwing competition) that prompted the New York Times to call the film “the best advertisement for beer-drinking since the breweries put wrestling on TV.” Orson Welles narrates. (JA)
116 min • Bavaria Film • 35mm from Park Circus
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 16mm – 7 min
Monday, July 22 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Don Siegel • 1958
Nominally a big-screen expansion of an undistinguished TV police procedural, The Lineup bristles with the genuine nastiness and unchecked sadism favored by screenwriter Stirling Silliphant and director Don Siegel. After its opening reel, The Lineup loses interest in the finer points of forensics and concentrates on the singularly sociopathic Dancer (Eli Wallach), a short-tempered hit man with no compunctions about threatening children or the disabled to reclaim a shipment of smuggled heroin. As a dumb working stiff who thrashes against a criminal hierarchy he can’t be bothered to understand, Wallach achieves a rare and uncomfortable intensity. Staging its mayhem on location at several now-vanished San Francisco landmarks, The Lineup’s irrational forward velocity finally and fittingly overflows the city itself: the climatic car chase takes place on an unfinished highway and it doesn’t disappoint. (KW)
86 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: Joe Besser in “Caught on the Bounce” (Jules White, 1952) – 35mm – 16 min
Wednesday, July 24 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
THE MIRACLE MAN
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod • 1932
A whip-smart gang of New York grifters (Sylvia Sidney, Chester Morris, Ned Sparks, and John Wray) have one sweet swindle going until a fatal clash with lascivious landlord Boris Karloff ruins their plans. Fleeing the cops, Morris hides out in the seaside paradise of Meadville, California, home to a beloved faith healer known universally as the Patriarch (Hobart Bosworth). Sensing the potential for the scam of the century, Morris summons his confederates—but will they still accede to the scheme after the Patriarch makes the crippled walk again? Aside from being a gonzo gangster yarn and a memorable piece of white-hot entertainment in its own right, The Miracle Man holds great interest as a phantom artifact of film history: it’s a remake of an enormously popular 1919 film that has vanished but for a few fragments. The original version gave Lon Chaney a star-making turn as the double-jointed con man known as the Frog; if Chaney was anywhere near as impressive in that role as John Wray comes off in the 1932 rendition, we’ve lost something very special indeed. (KW)
85 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Wednesday, 31 July @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
THE LATE GEORGE APLEY
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz • 1947
With the nineteenth century fading into the twentieth, New York City has supplanted Boston as America’s cultural capital, but don’t tell that to Beacon Hill Brahmin George Apley (Ronald Colman), who valiantly and obtusely upholds the traditions (philosophical, funereal, ornithological) his own family has abandoned. His Freud-quoting daughter Ellie (Gun Crazy femme fatale Peggy Cummins in her American debut) presses George to join the modern world, but old WASPs don’t give up their stingers so easily. A gentle and effortless satire of middle age and evaporating aristocracy taken from Mr. Moto creator John P. Marquand’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1937 novel, the film adaptation benefits from screenwriter (and Harvard alum) Philip Dunne’s intimate familiarity with the milieu and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s singular skill in staging sophisticated dialogue. Together with Colman’s Oscar-winning turn in A Double Life released later the same year, The Late George Apley represents the culmination of the actor’s three-decade career. (KW)
97 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA, permission 20th Century Fox
Monday, August 5 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1995
Lauded by J. Hoberman as “the western Andrei Tarkovsky always wanted to make,” Dead Man is an ethereal vision quest set against an industrialized, monochrome frontier. Johnny Depp stars as William Blake, a Cleveland accountant cosmically but not biologically related to the English poet and painter. Shortly after his arrival in a mudhole called Machine, Blake finds himself wanted for the murder of a local steel magnate’s daughter and her jealous lover. Hunted by a trio of bounty collectors hired by Robert Mitchum (in his final performance), the wounded Blake stumbles through the landscape with only a laconic Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer) at his side. An acid recollection on the West’s genocidal golden age anchored in the texture of daily life, Jarmusch’s Dead Man reinvents the genre as something simultaneously grim, elegiac, and wondrous. Unceremoniously dumped by Miramax despite such saleable aspects as Depp’s doe-eyed innocence and Neil Young’s unsettling guitar score, Dead Man has become an underground milestone. (KW)
121 min • Miramax • 35mm from Park Circus
Wednesday, August 7 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
SWING HIGH, SWING LOW
Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1937
Screwball comedy meets alcoholic self-destruction in this luminous romantic melodrama from the underrated Mitchell Leisen. Fred MacMurray acquits himself surprisingly well in his first dramatic role as cocky trumpeter Skid Johnson, who thinks nothing of staging a brawl in a Panamanian dive to assure that Carole Lombard misses her boat back to America. Their inevitable marriage becomes a source of artistic inspiration and personal stability until Skid’s old flame Dorothy Lamour arrives on the scene. If the story sounds predictable, the tone is anything but, zipping from one emotional register to another without warning. Paramount’s most profitable film of 1937, Swing High, Swing Low suffered an ignoble fate when 20th Century-Fox opted to remake the property. The film fell into a copyright black hole and its original negative disappeared. Swing High, Swing Low survives today only because the American Film Institute managed to cobble together a complete version from several uneven sources, including Leisen’s personal 16mm copy. (KW)
92 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Wednesday, August 14 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Roger Corman • 1962
Delusional misanthrope Adam Cramer (played by a pre-Star Trek William Shatner) comes to the small Southern town of Claxton to stop racial integration, turning “neighbor against neighbor” until the town spirals out of control. Shot in southeast Missouri, the cast and crew were met with relentless opposition from locals who didn’t think it gave a fair view of the South. Both Shatner and Corman recount being chased by the police from small town to small town in a guerrilla effort to get the picture finished, and the result is an incredibly tense, fearless, and horrifying portrayal of the lowest form of human pettiness. Often pigeonholed by the sheer bulk and thriftiness of his several-hundred-film output, Corman’s few personal projects are an incredible reminder of a time when being an independent filmmaker actually meant taking risks and proving that you can’t buy great films. (JA)
Co-presented with portoluz – Old and New Dreams
84 min • Filmgroup, Inc.
35mm Print courtesy of the Joe Dante and Jon Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive
Monday, August 19 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1972
Weary army scout Burt Lancaster and inexperienced peach-fuzzed lieutenant Bruce Davison are sent out to track the Apache war chief Ulzana, who is leading a vicious war party against traveling settlers and anything else in his path. If not the first, Ulzana’s Raid is a significant marker in the history of the revisionist Western: its characters are not celebrated or sympathetic, their actions are not justified, and the tone is decidedly bleak. It’s an anti-Western with antiheroes, shot in the unforgiving wastelands of Arizona. With Ulzana’s Raid and The Hired Hand the year before, screenwriter and former Scottish novelist Alan Sharp re-mythologized the American West, creating a dark, lonely fable that replaces heroes with shells of human beings on the brink of exhaustion. Rarely unpolitical, Aldrich’s film is also a commentary on the Vietnam War and the strangeness of human destruction. (JA)
103 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Woody Woodpecker in “Fat in the Saddle” (Paul J. Smith, 1968) – 35mm Technicolor – 6 min
Wednesday, August 21 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland • 1935
Preston Sturges wrote the script for this biopic of “Diamond” Jim Brady (Edward Arnold), which follows the notorious overeater and Gilded Age philanthropist’s rise to fame. There is a lot of food and some unsuccessful love affairs, Jean Arthur stars in a dual role as Emma and Jane, both of whom Jim falls for and strikes out with, and Binnie Barnes is Lillian Russell, his muse and the love of his life, who would never be anything other than a friend. The New York Times supplied an indignant response to Sturges’s tendency to discard historical accuracy for comedy, but Sturges also does something much more sophisticated and gives Brady a life of resonance which just happens to be incredibly funny . . . there isn’t a hint of irony. Only five years into his career, Diamond Jim makes a case for the young screenwriter as one of the most important comedy writers of the twentieth century. (JA)
88 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Wednesday, August 28 @ 7:30pm at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.
DAY OF WRATH (VREDENS DAG)
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer • 1943
Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark and brimming with barely concealed commentary about the medieval methods of the invaders, Day of Wrath is itself an act of black magic. Casting a glance at the witch-hunts of the seventeenth century, Dreyer treats history as a present-tense crisis. The stunning Lisbeth Movin stars as Anne, the young wife of the much older Absalon Pederssøn (Thorkild Roose), lately cursed by an elderly widow he ordered burned at the stake. Is Anne’s affair with Absalon’s son from a previous marriage an act of sexual license or a mystic compulsion? An unacknowledged influence on Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, Day of Wrath treats the allegorical implications of the material in an expansive and irresolvable manner. Instead of dismissing the persecutions as backwards folk paranoia, Dreyer advances a plausible case for witchcraft as feminist resistance. (KW) In Danish with English subtitles.
97 min • Palladium Productions • 35mm from Janus Films
Preceded by: Selected Cartoon – 35mm – 7 min