Monthly Archives: November 2013

Born Losers Need Not Apply: Steve McQueen & Lee Remick in Mulligan’s Baby the Rain Must Fall in 35mm

Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 N. State Street
For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

13B BABY THE RAIN MUST FALLSunday, November 24 @ 11:30am
BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL
Directed by Robert Mulligan • 1965
A film so bereft of phony optimism that Columbia opted to promote it as “the love story of a born loser,” Baby the Rain Must Fall reunites director Robert Mulligan with To Kill a Mockingbird screenwriter Horton Foote. Like its predecessor, Baby is a melodrama of family life in the South, but without the civics lesson. Steve McQueen stars as a small-town rockabilly sensation, a damaged, overgrown kid out on parole for a stabbing. He is welcomed home by the wife he barely knew (a brilliant Lee Remick) and the young daughter he knew nothing about. He’s determined to establish a cohesive family and become a successful musician, all to the chagrin of his abusive foster mother (Josephine Hutchinson), dead-set on reinforcing his worthlessness. McQueen’s persona is strikingly reminiscent of the sort of bad-boy musician that typified Elvis’s early career, but with the added sincerity of McQueen’s actual bad-boy status. (HG)
99 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

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Fair warning: set a place at the table and get ready to laugh next week.

14A MILLION $ LEGSSunday, December 1st @ 11:30am
PARAMOUNT PRE-CODE DOUBLE FEATURE
MILLION DOLLAR LEGS
Directed by Eddie Cline • 1932
Welcome to Klopstokia, the semi-sovereign backwater where policy disputes are resolved with wrestling matches and all the girls (and goats) are named Angela. President W.C. Fields leads a delegation of Klopstokians to the Olympics, but traitors plot to sabotage their chances by throwing the mechanically sexy temptress Mata Machree (Lyda Roberti) into their midst. Ostensibly produced to cash in on the Olympic fever generated by the 1932 Summer Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, it’s difficult to name a topical film that’s less political. Though often cited as a forerunner to the Marx Brothers’ sharp satire Duck Soup, Million Dollar Legs is closer to a surrealist free-for-all, one gag following another with seemingly unconscious logic.  Cited by Pauline Kael as a candidate for the greatest film ever made, Million Dollar Legs nevertheless defies critical description. (KW)
64 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal

and

GIRLS ABOUT TOWN
Directed by George Cukor • 1931
Lured direct from Broadway by Paramount after the studio determined it needed sophisticated theater directors to oversee the newly literate talkies, George Cukor was still finding his sea legs in 1931. So it only makes sense that he should make a saucy sex farce on a yacht, no? A pair of gold diggers played by Kay Francis and Lilyan Tashman have some business objectives for this maritime adventure: Francis will bag hunky, unconventional Joel McCrea while Tashman will seduce Eugene Pallette (!), the wealthiest man in all of Lansing, Michigan. The title could aptly summarize the whole pre-Code era, and the movie itself distills the emblematic contradictions of these bawdy bedtime stories: in one scene, Francis and Tashman must prove their virtue by selling the very clothes off their backs! (KW)
66 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal

14A GIRLS ABOUT TOWN

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