February – October 2014

All screenings are held at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Blvd., unless otherwise noted.

Programmed and Projected by Julian Antos, Becca Hall, and Kyle Westphal. Assistants: Sonia Lupher and Hannah Greenberg

Wednesday, February 26 @ 7:30pmKiss the Blood Off My Hands_300
KISS THE BLOOD OFF MY HANDS
Directed by Norman Foster • 1948
A film that requires no tagline, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is the first feature made by Burt Lancaster and Harold Hecht’s Harold Hecht-Norma Productions, and a trendsetter for independent “tough guy who just needs some understanding” film noirs. After killing a man in a sloshy bar fight, former POW Bill Saunders (Lancaster) takes shelter in the arms of a kindhearted nurse (Joan Fontaine), who gets him a job delivering medical supplies. Lancaster’s past catches up with him soon enough, and a witness to his killing blackmails him into doing a robbery and throwing his new love away. Set in an eerie backlot approximation of London, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is a violent, menacing emotional trainwreck held together by one of Joan Fontaine’s best performances. (JA)
79 min • Harold Hecht-Norma Productions • 35mm from Universal

Wednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
CRIME WITHOUT PASSION
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934Crime Without Passion _300
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

Wednesday, March 26 @ 7pm – Comfort Station Logan Square, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave.
LOGAN SQUARE HOME MOVIE DAY – Free AdmissHMD_LSion
Go down to the basement and dig out your Super 8 memories of that interminable trip to Idaho or that embarrassing 16mm footage of your mother’s rockin’ bat mitzvah and bring them to the Comfort Station on Wednesday, March 26 for a Logan Square edition of Home Movie Day. Jointly presented by NWCFS, Chicago Film Archives, Logan Square International Film Series, and The Post Family, Home Movie Day offers Chicagoans the opportunity to gather together and share their celluloid histories. Home movies provide invaluable records of our families and our communities: they document vanished storefronts, questionable fashions, adorable pets, long-departed loved ones, and neighborhoods-in-transition. Many Chicagoans still possess these old reels, passed down from generation to generation, but lack the projection equipment to view them properly and safely. That’s where Home Movie Day comes in: you bring the films, and we inspect them, project them, and offer tips on storage, preservation, and video transfer–all free of charge. And best of all, you get to watch them with an enthusiastic audience, equally hungry for local history. Plus: CFA presents rare films from the JoAnn Elam, the best filmmaker and letter-carrier that Logan Square ever had!

Wednesday, April 2 @ 7:30pm
TAKING OFF
Directed by Milos Forman • 1971Taking Off_300
Roger Ebert said it best: “[Milos Forman has] a rich appreciation for the everyday lives of people who do not realize how funny they are.” Few people are as funny, sweet, or immensely human as the middle-aged couple Larry and Lynn Tyne (played by Buck Henry and Lynn Carlin), whose teenage daughter Jeannie (Linnea Heacock) has run away from home to be with the hippie weirdos of 1971 (led in part by Carly Simon). As the couple searches for their daughter, they meet other parents looking for their runaway children and inadvertently rediscover their youth with the help of the Society for Parents of Fugitive Children. At once a vibrant cultural artifact and a gentle social commentary, Forman has kinder things to say about dysfunctional people living in  dysfunctional times than any of his peers, and finds genuine joy even in the bleakest situations. With Paul Benedict, Vincent Schiavelli, and Ike and Tina Turner. (JA)
93 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal

Wednesday, April 23 @ 7:30pm
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1932The_Strange_Love_of_Molly_Louvain_300
Iowa cigarette counter salesgirl Molly Louvain (Ann Dvorak) has everything figured out until her country club boyfriend leaves her penniless and pregnant. Hitting the road with a greasy lowlife (Leslie Fenton), Molly eventually winds up in Chicago, where she gets mixed up with a cop killing. Fawned over by a hayseed hometown suitor (Richard Cromwell) and pursued by transparently cynical newspaperman Scotty “Peanuts” Cornell (Lee Tracy), Molly finds herself in a clinch that even blonde hair dye can’t fix. A rare starring showcase for the wonderful Dvorak, The Strange Love of Molly Louvain is a brisk maternal melodrama and a mettle-testing gauntlet of spontaneous sincerity. Based on a play by Chicago’s Maurine Watkins, this nevertheless rates as one of the most geographically inept depictions of the Second City on film: a key scene occurs at the intersection of Clark and Dearborn, while Hyde Park comes across as Lake Michigan’s version of The Bronx.  (KW)
73 min • First National • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.
Co-sponsored by Park Ridge Classic Film Series
Introduced by Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel

Monday, June 23 – 5 PM, 7 PM, and 9 PM at the Music Box Theatre
CORN’S-A-POPPIN’Chicago Restoration Premiere
Directed by Robert Woodburn • 1955C-A-P 300
A regional independent film? A western swing musical?  An early Robert Altman script? A roman à clef about real-life popcorn baron Charles Manley? A masterpiece? Corn’s-A-Poppin’ is all these things and more. Produced on the cheap in a Kansas City by a band of young talent schooled in the production techniques of The Calvin Company, the Midwest’s most innovative industrial film studio, Corn’s-A-Poppin’ is just about the most free-wheeling and sing-able hour of cinema we’ve ever seen. Down-home crooner Jerry Wallace plays Johnny Wilson, the star of the Pinwhistle Popcorn Hour, a half-pint (and half-hour) variety show with acts ranging from pro-hog caller Lillian Gravelguard to Hobie Shepp and the Cowtown Wranglers. Might the cornpone bookings be an act of sabotage by rogue PR man Waldo Crummit in a bid to gut the Pinwhistle Empire? It’s up to Little Cora Rice to save the day. Songs include: “On Our Way to Mars,” “Running After Love,” and “Mama, Wanna Balloon.” Financed largely by regional showmen and out of circulation for decades, Chicago’s new cult classic has now been restored to its original earnest glory. Also on the program: Selected Country Soundies and Concessions Snipes (KW)
58 min • Crest Pictures, Inc. • 35mm

Restored by Northwest Chicago Film Society. Preservation funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional material courtesy of the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research. Laboratory services by FotoKem.

 Wednesday, June 25 @ 8 PM,  Annie May Swift Hall, 1920 Campus Drive, Northwestern University
New Adventures in 28mm: THAT MODEL FROM PARIS & Other Oddities

28mm-Pathescope_300Developed at a time when 35mm motion picture film was synonymous with nitrate fires and the annihilating spirit of modernity, the 28mm gauge was a non-flammable alternative marketed to schools, churches, and the private domain. Used for both home movies and non-theatrical exhibition of commercial shorts and features, the 28mm format was the forerunner of the instructional film, the classroom filmstrip, Castle Films 8mm clips, and your VHS library. Widely used in America until World War I and in Europe until the emergence of the talkies, 28mm presentations are exceptionally rare today, even though many films survive only in this unjustly neglected format. Dino Everett, Archivist at USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive and a longtime 28mm collector and advocate, will screen a representative sample of 28mm films on original projection equipment and provide an illuminating (but non-flammable) lecture on the history of the format. Program includes: That Model from Paris (Louis J. Gasnier, 1926) [Excerpts], The Life of George Washington (1909), The Crazy Villa (1913), The Gypsy’s Revenge (1908), and much more!

Heston Caesar_300
Thursday, October 2  @ 7pm, Block Cinema, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
JULIUS CAESAR
Directed by David Bradley • 1950
Not to be confused with M-G-M ‘s 1953 megaproduction, famed film collector and Chicago native David Bradley’s Julius Caesar was the first feature adaptation of Shakespeare’s play and Bradley’s second collaboration with then relatively unknown Charlton Heston (Mark Antony). Shot on 16mm with post-synchronized sound recorded primarily in an Evanston swimming pool, Caesar is a rich marriage of low-budget student theater productions (much of the cast was recruited from Northwestern’s theater department) and independent small gauge filmmaking, elevated by beautiful location photography at Chicago’s Museum Campus and the Indiana Sand Dunes.
106 min • Avon Productions • 35mm from Private Collections

Co-presented with Block Cinema and the Northwest Chicago Film Society