Cutest Film Society on Earth Opens Season with Imported 35mm Print of The Smallest Show on Earth on Sept. 3!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10 •  Advance Tickets Here

Monday, September 3 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by Basil Dearden • 1957
This British gem about a young couple (Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers) who inherit a movie theater is strangely underseen considering how much cinema-dwellers love to see themselves on screen. Upon discovering they are not the proud new owners of the Grand (a sparkling modern cinema spied from their taxi window) but of a nearby derelict gothic dump the locals call “the fleapit,” the pair reluctantly decide to reopen said dump after their lawyer convinces them it may push the Grand’s owner to buy them out. The staff of the fleapit is a bickering triad of fantastic character actors. Peter Sellers (Mr. Quill, projectionist), Margaret Rutherford (Mrs. Fazackalee, cashier), and Bernard Miles (Old Tom, usher) are living embodiments of the building itself—shabby, full of loose screws, and impossible not to adore. McKenna and Travers gamely succumb to the joys and pains of running a decrepit single screen: elaborate concessions sales schemes, customers who pay in pork chops, and the eternal problems of management vs. projection. (“My equipment’s more important than your rats!” is a classic grievance.) This love letter to movie houses and their occupants will be felt keenly by anyone who watched a multiplex go up around the corner from their local neighborhood cinema and wished that once, just once, it would mysteriously burn to the ground. (RL)
80 min • British Lion Films • 35mm from Pinewood Studios, imported by Rialto Pictures
Short: “Cinema Time Capsule” (Scott Norwood, 2013) – 5 min – 35mm


Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, September 8 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by F.W. Murnau • 1930
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
F.W. Murnau’s sojourn in Hollywood was brief, lasting for just three features, but in that span the Teutonic master of silent cinema managed to transform American movies. Sunrise was his landmark moment but his less-discussed American studio swan song City Girl, the warmest of his surviving films, deserves a place alongside his most beloved and long-canonized works. Evolving from a project initially conceived as a poetic paean to the production chain of bread, Murnau reconfigured his decidedly experimental concept into an endearingly simple love story between Minnesota country boy Lem (Charles Farrell), come to the big city to sell his family’s wheat crop, and Chicago waitress Kate (Mary Duncan), yearning for a new start and an end to the loneliness of urban life. Lem weds Kate and brings her home to the farm, but tensions arise with Lem’s family, who don’t look kindly upon Kate’s city girl ways. Filming his city scenes on extravagant studio sets and his farm scenes on location in the wilds of Oregon, Murnau imbues both with a blissful sense of discovery, collapsing simple urban-rural dichotomies and inventing the career of Terrence Malick in the process. Initially seen widely in an abbreviated, part-talkie version that most involved considered an embarrassment, Murnau’s original silent cut proves a wondrous thing, unspooling with the rapture of a rush through the wheat. (CW)
88 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “[Untitled Home Movies]” (Joe Antos, Circa 1936) – 12 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.