Monthly Archives: March 2018

We’ll Project It Geometrically!: Edgar G. Ulmer’s Sci-Fi Classic The Man from Planet X Screens April 10 in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Tuesday, April 10 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer • 1951
As a mysterious “Planet X” hurtles towards Earth, mustachioed journalist John Lawrence (sci-fi staple Robert Clarke) is invited by a professor friend to the spot where it will come nearest to our planet — deep in the Scottish moors, where the fog machines are working overtime. He’s joined there by a classic woman in distress, a shifty evil doctor, and soon enough, the titular Man from Planet X! The characters are familiar and armed with eye-rolling lines (“We’ll communicate with him geometrically!”) but director Edgar G. Ulmer creates a place of ghostly beauty with the low-budget artful stylization he became famous for in his noirs and B-movies (see Detour or Bluebeard). Filmed on the leftover sets from Victor Fleming’s Joan of Arc, The Man from Planet X feels more like a baroque fairy tale than a sci-fi film, and Ulmer’s ability to get an audience to empathize (seemingly without effort) with a creature who “speaks” with a sorrowful droning noise and has the face of a death mask is nothing less than masterful. He adds a level of depth and complexity to what might have otherwise been another forgettable genre cheapie. As Ulmer himself said, “I was trying to create art and decency, with a style.” (RL)
71 min • Mid-Century Film Productions • 35mm from Park Circus
Cartoon: “Hare-Way to the Stars” (Chuck Jones, 1958) – 35mm – 7 min


Please note: our April 7 screening of A Million Bid has been re-scheduled for April 21

Saturday, April 21 @ 11:30 AM 
Music Box Theatre / Live Accompaniment from Music Box Organist Dennis Scott
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1927
Shortly after Warner Bros. acquired the assets of the ailing Vitagraph Company of America in 1925, the studio embarked on a remake of the latter’s 1914 melodrama A Million Bid. From the start Warner recognized the material’s aptness for contract starlet Dolores Costello (dubbed “The Belle of the Box Office” by the studio), but cycled through several directors—including Alan Crosland and Roy Del Ruth—before ultimately giving the assignment to Hungarian émigré Michael Curtiz, who needed a low-key follow-up to his ostentatious and much-publicized American debut The Third Degree. The plot is high seas hokum: Costello loves a young surgeon (Malcolm McGregor) but is betrothed to a wealthy jerk (Warner Oland) who ponied up a million bucks for the privilege. Oland eventually forces himself upon Costello aboard his yacht (where else?), but a violent storm interrupts his plunder, causing the rapacious millionaire to develop amnesia in the aftermath. The 1914 version of A Million Bid is presumed lost, and for decades it was assumed that the 1927 remake suffered the same fate. A tinted nitrate print with Italian titles was discovered at Cineteca del Comune di Bologna, and became the basis for this restoration from the Library of Congress and L’immagine Ritrovata in 2004. (KW)
65 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from Library of Congress
Short: TBA

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