Category Archives: News

Join the Resistance! Lubitsch’s Iconic World War II Satire To Be or Not To Be Screens in 35mm – Oct 24 @ NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 24 @ 7:30 PM
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1942
Joseph Goebbels is seemingly the only cinephile to proffer an active distaste for Ernst Lubitsch. While the Nazi propaganda minister was launching attacks on the director through anti-Semitic “documentaries” in Europe, Lubitsch, firmly ensconced in Hollywood, mounted one of the great farces of the era, positing that National Socialism could be easily outwitted by a bunch of scenery-chewing hams. Jack Benny stars as Josef Tura, the leader of a theatrical troupe in 1939 Warsaw, recently invaded by Germany. When Tura’s wife Maria (Carole Lombard, brilliant in her final role) becomes embroiled with a Polish resistance fighter (a dreamy Robert Stack), she comes under scrutiny from local Nazi leadership and Josef and company must concoct a series of ruses to free her and protect Warsaw’s underground resistance. Never stooping to self-congratulation or sentimentality, To Be or Not to Be found Lubitsch at the peak of his artistry, landing every single punchline with aplomb and with nary a mawkish moment nor wasted breath to be found in between. That Lubitsch managed all of this while addressing the impending threat of global fascist takeover makes his achievement all the more remarkable. As a character in the film says, “A laugh is nothing to be sneezed at.” (CW)
99 min • United Artists • 35mm from Westchester Films
Cartoon: “Betty Boop’s Prize Show” (Fleischer Brothers, 1934) 8 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Cruise. Newman. Scorsese. The Cultural Event of 1986 Returns on 35mm: The Color of Money – 10/17 @ NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 17 @ 7:30 PM
THE COLOR OF MONEY
Directed by Martin Scorsese • 1986
“You gotta be a student of human moves.” Screenwriter Richard Price might well have been describing himself when he penned this pearl for Paul Newman’s iconic “Fast Eddie” Felson – just one of his many fired-off salvos of hard-won wisdom that seem to fly right over the head of meathead protégé Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise). Charged with drafting a sequel to 1961’s The Hustler, Price reportedly threw out the source material (Walter Tevis’s follow-up novel and his own screenplay adaptation), dusted off a familiar sports-movie premise, and managed somehow to whip up a highly amusing, tightly wound film bursting with fresh insights on the human condition. The plot: Fast Eddie, two-and-a-half decades removed from his bitter straight-pool triumph over Minnesota Fats, now sits around grousing about the new generation of “bangers” who achieve cheap successes in televised nine-ball tournament play. After discovering the cocky young Vincent, though, he can’t help but salivate at the prospect of another shot at green-felt immortality, so it’s time to hit the road, stopping in every rundown Rust Belt poolroom they can find. (Chicago plays itself, along with Atlantic City and several other gritty locales.) Along for the ride is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Vincent’s girlfriend Carmen, frequently getting caught in the middle as the shooters’ partnership quickly curdles into a rivalry. Plus, how about a moody, time-capsule-worthy score by The Band’s Robbie Robertson and a scene-stealing cameo by a young Forest Whitaker? And now there’s barely time to mention the fun and flashy direction by a middle-period Scorsese (flirting amiably with self-parody a decade before showing signs of full congealment), abetted by the restless and resplendent cinematography of occasional collaborator (and Fassbinder fave) Michael Ballhaus. Rack ’em. (GW)
119 min • Touchstone Pictures • 35mm from Disney, permission Swank
Short: W.C. Fields in “Pool Sharks” (Edwin Middleton, 1915) – 10 min – 35mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Watch Out, Men: Pola Negri’s Sappho Is Coming to Ruin Your Life – 35mm Print from UCLA – 10/14 at the Music Box

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Sunday, October 14 @ 5:00 PM
SAPPHO
Directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki • 1921
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Fresh from the worldwide success of Ernst Lubitsch’s Madame DuBarry, Polish actress Pola Negri signed a contract with Paramount Pictures to great fanfare. In March 1923, a month before the release of Negri’s first American film, with newspaper headlines speculating on a love affair with Charles Chaplin, Goldwyn Studios dusted off one of her unreleased German films from two years earlier, retitled it Mad Love, and cannily exploited the public’s mounting Negri-mania. (Negri was literally the entire show, as the studio didn’t bother to advertise the rest of the cast and barely acknowledged the director, Dimitri Buchowetzki, who had recently helmed an acclaimed adaptation of Othello with Emil Jannings.) Described by the New York Tribune as “the greatest non-stop vamping record ever filmed,” Sappho follows Negri as the titular temptress who drives one lover to the insane asylum (Alfred Abel), proceeds to seduce his brother (Johannes Riemann), beguiles an automobile magnate (Albert Steinrück), and more. A mad whirl of betrayal and revenge follows. Long neglected, Sappho has been preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive from multi-tinted nitrate copy with English intertitles from the MGM library. (KW)
81 min • Projektions-AG Union • 35mm from UCLA Film & Television Archive
Cartoon: Felix the Cat in “Comicalamities” (Otto Messmer, 1928) – 8 min – 16mm

———

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 17 @ 7:30 PM
THE COLOR OF MONEY
Directed by Martin Scorsese • 1986
“You gotta be a student of human moves.” Screenwriter Richard Price might well have been describing himself when he penned this pearl for Paul Newman’s iconic “Fast Eddie” Felson – just one of his many fired-off salvos of hard-won wisdom that seem to fly right over the head of meathead protégé Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise). Charged with drafting a sequel to 1961’s The Hustler, Price reportedly threw out the source material (Walter Tevis’s follow-up novel and his own screenplay adaptation), dusted off a familiar sports-movie premise, and managed somehow to whip up a highly amusing, tightly wound film bursting with fresh insights on the human condition. The plot: Fast Eddie, two-and-a-half decades removed from his bitter straight-pool triumph over Minnesota Fats, now sits around grousing about the new generation of “bangers” who achieve cheap successes in televised nine-ball tournament play. After discovering the cocky young Vincent, though, he can’t help but salivate at the prospect of another shot at green-felt immortality, so it’s time to hit the road, stopping in every rundown Rust Belt poolroom they can find. (Chicago plays itself, along with Atlantic City and several other gritty locales.) Along for the ride is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Vincent’s girlfriend Carmen, frequently getting caught in the middle as the shooters’ partnership quickly curdles into a rivalry. Plus, how about a moody, time-capsule-worthy score by The Band’s Robbie Robertson and a scene-stealing cameo by a young Forest Whitaker? And now there’s barely time to mention the fun and flashy direction by a middle-period Scorsese (flirting amiably with self-parody a decade before showing signs of full congealment), abetted by the restless and resplendent cinematography of occasional collaborator (and Fassbinder fave) Michael Ballhaus. Rack ’em. (GW)
119 min • Touchstone Pictures • 35mm from Disney, permission Swank
Short: W.C. Fields in “Pool Sharks” (Edwin Middleton, 1915) – 10 min – 35mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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“Black, Bold and Bloody Mean!” Isaac Hayes *Is* Truck Turner – Action Classic Screens Oct. 10 at NEIU in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 10 @ 7:30 PM
TRUCK TURNER
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan • 1974
“He’s a skip tracer, the last of the bounty hunters, living on blood money and borrowed time.” A paunchy studio rat whose cinema bonafides were previously limited to soundtrack work, Isaac Hayes improbably proved the perfect anchor to one of the wildest films to come out of the ’70s Black action movie boom. Hayes stars as the most indelibly named title character this side of Foxy Brown, an ex-football player turned skip tracer who specializes in taking the dirtiest cases for the biggest payouts. Chockablock with unrelenting action setpieces capable of giving any poliziotteschi a run for its money and set to an infectious, horn-laden score by Hayes that actually bests his Oscar-feted work on Shaft, Truck Turner renders the urban action thriller as comic book tableau, where bounty hunters and pimps battle for primacy in a Los Angeles that’s all weed-stricken vacant lots, gaudy mini-mansions, and molten pavement stretching in every direction. For everything larger than life about Truck Turner, Hayes cuts a refreshingly grounded figure, a spiritual sibling to Elliot Gould’s schlubby private dick in the previous year’s The Long Goodbye. Even the baddest mothers have to deal with their cats peeing on their stuff. (CW)
91 min • American International Pictures • 35mm from Park Circus
Preceded by: AIP Trailer Reel

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Woof! Lasse Hallström’s Coming-of-Age Classic My Life as a Dog Screens Oct. 3 in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 3 @ 7:30 PM
MY LIFE AS A DOG • 1985
Directed by Lasse Hallström
In Swedish with English subtitles
Set in Sweden in 1958-1959, My Life as a Dog follows the growing pains of 12-year-old boy named Ingemar (Anton Glanzelius), who is separated from his older brother and sent to live with relatives when his mother becomes ill. The premise is classic arthouse hit of the week material, but this one really cuts close to the bone, tossing and turning through its hero’s adolescence, painfully awkward and filled with wonder. The supporting cast, made up of child actors and eccentric adults, feels like a real family. Director Lasse Hallström, then most famous for directing nearly all of ABBA’s music videos, and probably best known to US audiences for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, earned a Best Director and a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award nomination for the film in 1988 upon its belated stateside release, a relatively rare feat for a work of foreign cinema. My Life as a Dog was a favorite of Kurt Vonnegut, who said it “made me like life and human beings much more than I had ever done before. Quite a favor!” (JA)
101 min • FilmTeknik • 35mm from CFS Collections, Permission Janus
Cartoon: “Crazy Mixed-Up Pup” (Tex Avery, 1954) – 7 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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William Wellman’s Other Men’s Women – “The Passions of Men and the Power of Locomotives in a Tremendous Drama of the Singing Rails!” – New 35mm Print on Oct. 26!

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, September 26 @ 7:30 PM
OTHER MEN’S WOMEN
Directed by William A. Wellman • 1931
There’s no shortage of pre-Code films about penthouses and fancy negligees, but Other Men’s Women stands alone as a grubby slice of working class life. Grant Withers and Regis Toomey play two working stiff railroad engineers who wander the yards and hop their own boxcars with the panache of professional hoboes. Toomey has a wife (Mary Astor) in a little cottage in suburban Los Angeles, while Withers flirts with women at every station. (His steadiest lady friend is hash-slinger Joan Blondell, who proudly declares herself “A.P.O. – Ain’t Puttin’ Out.”) When Withers finds himself falling for Astor, the ancient order of male camaraderie collides headfirst with a modern colossus of steel. Overachiever James Cagney hoofs and hops in a bit part that set the stage for his breakthrough performance in The Public Enemy, another he-man Wellman collaboration released four months after Other Men’s Women. Routinely ignored in career overviews of Wellman, Blondell, and Cagney and long unavailable on 35mm, Other Men’s Women now emerges as an earthy, grease-caked delight: the characters are simple, the emotions are elemental, and the punches land like a sack of rocks With its freighted mix of forbidden love, railroad carnage, and retributive mutilation, it’s nothing less than the runty American nephew of Abel Gance’s La roue! (KW)
70 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from Library of Congress
Short: “Railroading in the East: 1897-1906” (Blackhawk Films) – 10 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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“What Brought a Nice Kid Like Sue Ann to a Shocking Moment Like This?” Find Out in Pretty Poison – 9/18

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Tuesday, September 18 @ 7:30 PM
PRETTY POISON
Directed by Noel Black • 1968
Though cursed with a timid release from the studio and poor box office numbers, Pretty Poison eventually seeped its way onto enough screens to become a cult favorite among those lucky enough to catch it. Director Noel Black wasn’t quite so fortunate however, being forever dogged by critics who claimed his subsequent films never quite lived up to his debut. Anthony Perkins stars as Dennis Pitt, a young man starting fresh after a long stint in a mental institution. After his parole officer lands him a steady job bottling mysterious candy-colored poisons at a chemical plant, he soon becomes smitten with the beautiful Sue Ann Stepenek, a local teenager played with frightful zeal by Tuesday Weld. Lucky for Dennis, batshit crazy is just Sue Ann’s type, but secret meetings at the local hot dog stand and his fake side-gig as a CIA operative can only hold her interest for so long before she suggests they up the ante. Perkins plays the role with an easy grace. He’s a Pan-like Clyde to Weld’s sociopathic Bonnie, and when their secret agent games turn violent it’s him we feel frightened for. It’s part bizarro Badlands and part environmental-horror film, with toxicity lurking beneath Sue Ann’s wholesome freckles and in the place that spawned her, as the chemical factory’s waste slowly leaches into the forests and rivers of small-town Western Massachusetts. There’s something in the water, and the kids are definitely not alright. (RL)
89 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA
Short: “Skaterdater” (Noel Black, 1966) – 17 min – 35mm, Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Mr. Moto Behind the Camera: Peter Lorre’s The Lost One – Rare 35mm Screening, September 12 @ NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, September 12 @ 7:30 PM
THE LOST ONE (DER VERLORENE)
Directed by Peter Lorre • 1951
In German with English subtitles
After spending eighteen years in Hollywood with small parts in big movies like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon and big parts in small movies like the eight-film Mr. Moto series, Peter Lorre returned to Germany, where he would cowrite and direct his only feature, The Lost One. An Austro-Hungarian Jew who fled the Nazis after delivering an iconic performance as a disturbed child molester in Fritz Lang’s M, Lorre was uniquely positioned to examine the horrors of recent German history. Lorre stars as Dr. Neumeister, a doctor working selflessly in a displaced persons camp in Hamburg. When reunited with a wartime acquaintance, Lorre flashes back to his days performing nefarious medical experiments for the Nazis. His disloyal fiancée (Renate Mannhardt) is his first victim, but far from the last. A contemporary of Joseph Losey’s unfairly maligned American remake of M, The Lost One is another gloss on Lang’s classic, continuing the tradition of using lurid crime stories to indict a whole society. Roundly rejected by German audiences conditioned to accept a new Allied order without recrimination, The Lost One did not receive an American release until 1983. (KW)
98 min • Arnold Pressburger Filmproduktion • 35mm from the Goethe-Institut, permission Beta Films
Short: TBA

 Check out the full schedule here!

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F.W. Murnau’s City Girl – The Bread and Butter of Silent Cinema – 35mm Vault Print with Live Accompaniment by Dennis Scott on Saturday, September 8

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, September 8 @ 11:30 AM
CITY GIRL
Directed by F.W. Murnau • 1930
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
F.W. Murnau’s sojourn in Hollywood was brief, lasting for just three features, but in that span the Teutonic master of silent cinema managed to transform American movies. Sunrise was his landmark moment but his less-discussed American studio swan song City Girl, the warmest of his surviving films, deserves a place alongside his most beloved and long-canonized works. Evolving from a project initially conceived as a poetic paean to the production chain of bread, Murnau reconfigured his decidedly experimental concept into an endearingly simple love story between Minnesota country boy Lem (Charles Farrell), come to the big city to sell his family’s wheat crop, and Chicago waitress Kate (Mary Duncan), yearning for a new start and an end to the loneliness of urban life. Lem weds Kate and brings her home to the farm, but tensions arise with Lem’s family, who don’t look kindly upon Kate’s city girl ways. Filming his city scenes on extravagant studio sets and his farm scenes on location in the wilds of Oregon, Murnau imbues both with a blissful sense of discovery, collapsing simple urban-rural dichotomies and inventing the career of Terrence Malick in the process. Initially seen widely in an abbreviated, part-talkie version that most involved considered an embarrassment, Murnau’s original silent cut proves a wondrous thing, unspooling with the rapture of a rush through the wheat. (CW)
88 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “[Untitled Home Movies]” (Joe Antos, Circa 1936) – 12 min – 16mm

——

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, September 12 @ 7:30 PM
THE LOST ONE (DER VERLORENE)
Directed by Peter Lorre • 1951
In German with English subtitles
After spending eighteen years in Hollywood with small parts in big movies like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon and big parts in small movies like the eight-film Mr. Moto series, Peter Lorre returned to Germany, where he would cowrite and direct his only feature, The Lost One. An Austro-Hungarian Jew who fled the Nazis after delivering an iconic performance as a disturbed child molester in Fritz Lang’s M, Lorre was uniquely positioned to examine the horrors of recent German history. Lorre stars as Dr. Neumeister, a doctor working selflessly in a displaced persons camp in Hamburg. When reunited with a wartime acquaintance, Lorre flashes back to his days performing nefarious medical experiments for the Nazis. His disloyal fiancée (Renate Mannhardt) is his first victim, but far from the last. A contemporary of Joseph Losey’s unfairly maligned American remake of M, The Lost One is another gloss on Lang’s classic, continuing the tradition of using lurid crime stories to indict a whole society. Roundly rejected by German audiences conditioned to accept a new Allied order without recrimination, The Lost One did not receive an American release until 1983. (KW)
98 min • Arnold Pressburger Filmproduktion • 35mm from the Goethe-Institut, permission Beta Films
Short: TBA

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Cutest Film Society on Earth Opens Season with Imported 35mm Print of The Smallest Show on Earth on Sept. 3!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10 •  Advance Tickets Here

Monday, September 3 @ 7:00 PM
THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH
Directed by Basil Dearden • 1957
This British gem about a young couple (Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers) who inherit a movie theater is strangely underseen considering how much cinema-dwellers love to see themselves on screen. Upon discovering they are not the proud new owners of the Grand (a sparkling modern cinema spied from their taxi window) but of a nearby derelict gothic dump the locals call “the fleapit,” the pair reluctantly decide to reopen said dump after their lawyer convinces them it may push the Grand’s owner to buy them out. The staff of the fleapit is a bickering triad of fantastic character actors. Peter Sellers (Mr. Quill, projectionist), Margaret Rutherford (Mrs. Fazackalee, cashier), and Bernard Miles (Old Tom, usher) are living embodiments of the building itself—shabby, full of loose screws, and impossible not to adore. McKenna and Travers gamely succumb to the joys and pains of running a decrepit single screen: elaborate concessions sales schemes, customers who pay in pork chops, and the eternal problems of management vs. projection. (“My equipment’s more important than your rats!” is a classic grievance.) This love letter to movie houses and their occupants will be felt keenly by anyone who watched a multiplex go up around the corner from their local neighborhood cinema and wished that once, just once, it would mysteriously burn to the ground. (RL)
80 min • British Lion Films • 35mm from Pinewood Studios, imported by Rialto Pictures
Short: “Cinema Time Capsule” (Scott Norwood, 2013) – 5 min – 35mm

—–

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, September 8 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre
CITY GIRL
Directed by F.W. Murnau • 1930
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
F.W. Murnau’s sojourn in Hollywood was brief, lasting for just three features, but in that span the Teutonic master of silent cinema managed to transform American movies. Sunrise was his landmark moment but his less-discussed American studio swan song City Girl, the warmest of his surviving films, deserves a place alongside his most beloved and long-canonized works. Evolving from a project initially conceived as a poetic paean to the production chain of bread, Murnau reconfigured his decidedly experimental concept into an endearingly simple love story between Minnesota country boy Lem (Charles Farrell), come to the big city to sell his family’s wheat crop, and Chicago waitress Kate (Mary Duncan), yearning for a new start and an end to the loneliness of urban life. Lem weds Kate and brings her home to the farm, but tensions arise with Lem’s family, who don’t look kindly upon Kate’s city girl ways. Filming his city scenes on extravagant studio sets and his farm scenes on location in the wilds of Oregon, Murnau imbues both with a blissful sense of discovery, collapsing simple urban-rural dichotomies and inventing the career of Terrence Malick in the process. Initially seen widely in an abbreviated, part-talkie version that most involved considered an embarrassment, Murnau’s original silent cut proves a wondrous thing, unspooling with the rapture of a rush through the wheat. (CW)
88 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “[Untitled Home Movies]” (Joe Antos, Circa 1936) – 12 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Cutest Film Society on Earth Opens Season with Imported 35mm Print of The Smallest Show on Earth on Sept. 3!