Monthly Archives: June 2019

Celebrate American Ingenuity and Know-How with Doris Wishman’s Nude on the Moon – Rare 35mm Screening!

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, July 3 @ 7:30 PM
NUDE ON THE MOON
Directed by Doris Wishman • 1961
Nearly a decade before Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the lunar surface, Miami rocket scientist Dr. Jeff (Lester Brown) embarked on a secret, self-funded mission to the moon, where deep within a remote crater he made perhaps the greatest discovery mankind has to date stumbled upon: a colony of buxom alien nudists! An exploitation dynamo and one of the most prolific female feature directors ever, Doris Wishman pumped out a cycle of achingly wholesome nudist pictures during the first half of the ‘60s; she prided herself on bringing invention and a certain lowbrow wit to a genre where traditional cinematic concerns were more often than not cast aside in favor of haphazardly shot prurience. Nude on the Moon would prove to be the most enduring of these films, a blissfully stupid lunar reverie where seemingly half the runtime is dedicated to cataloging the games and leisure activities of topless “moon nymphs” in a space utopia that suspiciously resembles Miami’s iconic Coral Castle. Too often sloughed off as “the female Ed Wood,” Wishman would prove to be massively influential in the world of avant-garde filmmaking, where her poverty-driven style and slapdash innovations would inspire filmmakers like George Kuchar and Peggy Ahwesh to pick up a camera, heedless of money or technical resources, and start filming their friends naked. (CW)
83 min • Moon Productions • 35mm from American Genre Film Archive

Short: “Hold Me While I’m Naked” (George Kuchar, 1966) – 17 min – 16mm from The Film-Makers’ Cooperative — An array of scattered moments in the lives of a few characters, circling the basic premise of one man failing to make a low budget exploitation film. Rich with playfulness and diversions, from a fake bird sitting in a tree to flashing spots caused by holes in the film, Hold Me While I’m Naked is a prurient delight from start to finish.


COMING ON SATURDAY

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N Southport Ave
Tickets: $11


Saturday, July 6 at 11:30 AM
THE SCARLET LETTER
Directed by Victor Sjöström • 1926
Live organ accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
A project instigated by Lillian Gish when the actress’s stature and clout exceeded that of her collaborators both in front of and behind the camera, The Scarlet Letter is that rarest of things: a movie adapted from a great work of American literature that doesn’t embarrass the source material. Indeed, this tale of adultery, hypocrisy, and mutilation purportedly reached the screen only because Gish’s wholesome bona fides, not Nathaniel Hawthorne’s literary reputation, assuaged church group skepticism. Gish stars as Hester Prynne, the Puritan woman whose affair with pastor Dimmesdale (Lars Hanson) brings an out-of-wedlock birth and the injunction that the adulterous wife be forced to wear a scarlet ‘A’ affixed to her dress. The director, Victor Sjöström, had made his reputation with Swedish classics such as Ingeborg Holm and Terje Vigen, and that seems to have been the main thing that recommended him for this quintessentially American story. (In the US, his name was Anglicized to Seastrom.) “The Swedish people are closer to what our Pilgrims were, or what we consider them to have been, than our present day Americans,” mused Gish, who would work with Sjöström and Hanson again on The Wind. Beautifully photographed by Hendrik Sartov, who had spent much of the decade as D.W. Griffith’s cameraman, The Scarlet Letter was a critical success that played for five months in New York but found little traction in the still-Puritan American Heartland. (KW)
100 min • M-G-M • 35mm from UCLA Film & Television Archive, permission Warner Bros.

Short: Felix the Cat in “Roameo” (Otto Mesmer, 1927) – 6 min – 16mm


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