A Delirious New Musical from the Director of The Cobweb: Vincente Minnelli’s Yolanda and the Thief in 35mm – 4/18

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

Wednesday, April 18 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1945
In the immediate wake of Meet Me in St. Louis, director and master stylist Vincente Minnelli found himself an in-demand property at his home studio M-G-M. In the midst of re-envisioning the Judy Garland romance The Clock and contributing sequences to Ziegfeld Follies, Minnelli directed one of the weirdest films to ever be made by a Hollywood studio. Yolanda and the Thief began life as a musical adaptation of a children’s story by Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans (whose art, along with the paintings of Salvador Dali, serves as one of the film’s chief visual inspirations), but Minnelli saw the film as a chance to direct a full-on “surrealist revue,” a project he had been dreaming of since his early days as a Broadway set designer. Fred Astaire stars as an American gangster running from the law in the fictional and vaguely Latin American country of Patria who sees an opportunity for a quick payday when he encounters the beautiful and grotesquely naive mineral water-heiress Yolanda (Lucille Bremer) and whips up a plan to convince her he is a literal angel sent from Heaven. Minnelli’s marked disregard for coherent plotting or naturalistic performance may have ensured the film would be misunderstood by critics and audiences expecting a traditional Astaire movie, but the director’s refashioning of the Hollywood prestige-musical toolkit in service of bold, avant-garde filmmaking—on full display in the film’s 15-minute dream ballet centerpiece—feels utterly galvanizing today. (CW)
108 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Bros., Permission Swank
Short: Selected Cartoon


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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