Morning Post Editor Saves Hanged Man, Colleague:The Front Page – Chicago Restoration Premiere in 35mm

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7

Monday, January 23 @ 7:00 PM / Chicago Restoration Premiere
Directed by Lewis Milestone • 1931
Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 play is one of the most durable comedies in the American repertory, and Lewis Milestone’s brash and brisk screen adaptation deserves a place of pride alongside it. Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, this cynical valentine to the ink-stained wretches of the world chronicles ace reporter Hildy Johnson’s fitful efforts to get married, settle down, and leave his yellow profession behind. But Hildy’s hard-assed editor, Walter Burns, can’t lose his best scrivener, especially when the imminent execution of a Red rabble-rouser is worth its weight in column inches. The play would be adapted for the screen another half-dozen times (including formidable efforts by Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder), but Milestone’s 1931 version with Pat O’Brien and Adolphe Menjou comes closest to matching Hecht and MacArthur’s devil-may-care immediacy; it’s not a period piece, but a vulgar salute ripping through the air. Contemporary reviewers lavished The Front Page with superlatives: Harry Alan Potamkin anointed Milestone the first major cinema innovator since D. W. Griffith, and Pare Lorentz urged his readers to see this “extraordinary movie” before “Mr. Hays, Mr. Akerson, or the Republican Committee on Humor burn all the available prints.” No prints were burned, but we’ve had to suffice with a toned-down version prepared for European audiences from alternate takes — until now. Finally restored to the original American release version for the first time in decades, The Front Page is a pre-Code marvel with a machine-gun stride. (KW)
Restored in 2016 by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. Elements for this restoration provided by The Howard Hughes Corporation, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts, Department of Film and its Howard Hughes Collection at the Academy Film Archive.
98 min • The Caddo Company • 35mm from Academy Film Archive
Film Stock: Kodak Lab: Fotokem
Preceded by: Betty Boop in “Admission Free” (Dave Fleischer, 1932) – 16mm – 7 min

Buy Tickets in advance on Brown Paper Tickets.


And join us again next week for our regularly scheduled program at:

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 25 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Nicholas Ray • 1958
Dead in the midst of another brutal Chicago winter, we may look upon the vision of balmy South Florida seen in Nicholas Ray’s brilliantly haphazard environmentalist swamp western Wind Across the Everglades for a glimpse of all we’re missing: fever, drunken madness, and death by any one of the region’s plethora of toxic flora and fauna. Having just arrived in turn-of-the-century Miami, outspoken conservationist Walt Murdock (Christopher Plummer) is summarily hired as game warden for the Everglades and immediately tasked with going after a gang of poachers who are killing off the region’s birds and selling their feathers. A career-best Burl Ives leads the gang as Cottonmouth, named for the venomous snake kept in his pocket, who lives by the philosophy of “eat or be et”, and prides himself on being “swamp-born, swamp-fattened.” The all-location production of Wind Across the Everglades was notoriously tempestuous, with cast and crew members sick or soused for much of its making. Ray himself was fired before the film wrapped due to his erratic behavior and conspicuous heroin habit. While Wind Across the Everglades certainly bears the scars of its troubled makings, it remains a key film in Ray’s filmography. It’s hard to imagine a smoother shoot yielding a film so unique, vigorous, or full of life. (CW)
93 min •  Warner Bros. • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Preceded by: “Weekend at Weeki Wachee” (1964) – 35mm – 12 min

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