Monthly Archives: December 2013

Spend Christmas with the Kockenlockers! Sturges’s The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek – Archival 35mm Print

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

17B MIRACLESunday, December 22 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Preston Sturges • 1944
After spending a drunken, sin-soaked night sending off six soldiers, Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) wakes up pregnant and married, but she can’t remember how or to whom. Eddie Bracken is the local 4-H boy who has been in love with Hutton for as long as he can remember and jumps at the opportunity to take responsibility for the incident and indirectly sire an heir. The Hays Office warned that a film with such a spindly moral backbone should have no resemblance to the story of Jesus Christ (they also only approved ten pages of the script), but The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is an obvious and even touching play on the immaculate conception, and finds Sturges, who Manny Farber called “the most spectacular manipulator of sheer humor since Mark Twain,” at his most out-of-control. With William Demarest, Brian Donlevy, and Akim Tamiroff. (JA)
98 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Paramount


But wait … there’s one more

Sunday, December 29 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Allen Baron • 1961
“You were born in pain.” A proto-punk film noir shot without permits on a scuzzball budget, Blast of Silence is practically a one-man show for director-writer-actor Allen Baron. The former comic book artist-turned-independent filmmaker stars as a square Cleveland hit man called away to New York City to fulfill a contract on a minor mobster. Floating through Manhattan during the loneliest time of the year—the week between Christmas and New Year’s—Baron takes a tentative stab at rekindling his romance with an old flame (Molly McCarthy) and falls in with burly weapons dealer Big Ralph (Larry Tucker). Narrated by an uncredited Lionel Stander in a singularly abrasive style (“the second person accusative,” in Dave Kehr’s concise formulation), Blast of Silence stands as an unaccountable debut. Remarkably, this hate-flecked calling card was picked up as a B-feature by Universal and yielded a four-decade career in TV-directing for Baron. If you think the holidays go down easier with a bottle of scotch, this is your kind of movie. (KW)
77 min • Magla Productions • 35mm from Universal

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