The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2
Wednesday, February 3rd @ 7:30 PM
Directed by James Cruze • 1926
A premiere example of early epic action cinema, Old Ironsides plops Charles Farrell, Esther Ralston, and the crew of the merchant vessel Esther into the Battle of Tripoli Harbor alongside the titular ship, the USS Constitution. When Ralston is kidnapped by pirates in the Mediterranean, Farrell, with the assistance of legendary bruisers Wallace Beery and George Bancroft, takes it as his patriotic duty to rescue her and aid the US Navy’s efforts in stamping out piracy. The 1926 premiere of Old Ironsides was also the debut of the newly developed Magnascope widescreen process which involved opening the screen’s masking and switching lenses to magnify the film’s image during key scenes. While the popular narrative of film history positions widescreen projection as an enticement to viewers who had ditched the movies for television, Magnascope was one of many widescreen processes developed in the silent era and remained in common use through the 1940s. Used exclusively, in this instance, during the film’s battle sequences, the shift to a larger image gives Old Ironsides’s already remarkable action set-pieces an extra jolt, providing an experience that is the essence of cinematic spectacle. (CW)
111 min. • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Preceded by: “The Pillar of Fire” (George Méliès, 1899) – 35mm – 1 min
Presented in Magnascope, with live organ accompaniment from Jay Warren.