Just Imagine—We Dare Ya! The Original Sci-Fi Musical in 35mm at Cinema Borealis!

Cinema Borealis in Wicker Park • 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

Sunday, September 30 @ 6:00pm & 8:30pm
Directed by David Butler • 1930
A lavish science fiction musical from a band of Broadway braggarts with largely nominal interest in the rockets and biotech innovations depicted herein, Just Imagine is nothing if not a singular cinematic experience. In this speculative rendition of 1980, citizens are identified only by alphanumeric codes and love is regulated through the government marriage tribunal. (It plays equally well as a show-stopper for 1930 and a Tea Party fever dream for 2012.) When aristocratic dead weight MT-3 wins a marriage judgment for the hand of LN-18 (Maureen O’Sullivan), her sweetheart J-21 (John Garrick) must undertake an experimental trip to Mars to prove his social worth. He’s joined by Single O (El Brendel), a lightning victim from “the good ol’ days” of 1930 recently revived by the miracle of modern science. (As an instantly perishable artifact of 1930, El Brendel’s dumb Swede vaudeville shtick can’t be bettered.) With its inimitable blend of creditable Art Deco set design, a varied score from De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson (Good News, Sunnyside Up), and a terrifyingly guttural cohort of Martian chorines, Just Imagine leaves nothing to the imagination.  (KW)
109 min. • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA


Not the imaginative type? That’s okay; we’ve got a wonderful movie for you, too! Join us next Wednesday at the Portage for a rare screening of a drop-dead gorgeous IB Technicolor 16mm print of Chad Hanna.

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, October 3rd @ 7:30pm
Directed by Henry King • 1940
After helping a runaway slave escape to Canada, starry-eyed Henry Fonda runs away with Guy Kibbee’s upstate New York circus. Also along for the trip are John Carradine, Dorothy Lamour, Oscar the Lion, and 17-year-old runaway Linda Darnell. Fonda falls for Lamour and then dopily falls for Darnell, eventually proving his worth by getting the circus an elephant. Adapted from Red Wheels Rolling, a Saturday Evening Post serial by Walter Dumaux Edmonds, this is the kind of simple, natural filmmaking that made Henry King 20th Century-Fox’s most subtly valuable director. Bosley Crowther captured the overwhelmingly lush and dreamlike state of Chad Hanna in his New York Times review: “the color and mood of that small town America has been excellently captured in the crickets dinning the night silence at Canastota; the creak of wagon harness as the little caravan journeys to the next town; . . . the roustabouts of rival circuses fighting it out with tent pegs on the bridge; the acrobats in pink tights and gold fringe running into the sawdust ring while Guy Kibbee delivers a stentorian rhetoric on the ‘most daring, the most breath-taking . . .’” (JA)
86 min • 20th Century-Fox • IB Technicolor 16mm from the Radio Cinema Film Archive
Short: Notes on the Circus (Jonas Mekas, 1966) – 16mm from Canyon Cinema – 12 min

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