Monthly Archives: May 2013

Practice Your Peace League Salute: Ultra-Rare, Ultra-Weird High Treason Screens in Newly Restored 35mm Print!

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Northwest Chicago Film Society will not be screening films at the Portage Theater this week. We apologize for the inconvenience. This screening has been moved to the Patio Theater

08A_High TreasonPatio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Road
Wednesday, June 5 @ 8:00pm
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)
70 min • Gaumont British Pictures Corp. • 35mm from the Library of Congress

Have you ever thought that the modern media’s feeding frenzy was absolutely hilarious? See where it all begin with Billy Wilder’s black comedy classic.

08B - Ace in the HolePatio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Road
Monday, June 10 @ 8:00pm
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

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