The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3
Wednesday, June 26 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by William K. Howard • 1931
Described by New York Times upon its release as a movie with “almost as many plots as it has officers,” this pre-Code adventure on the high seas displays remarkable narrative and visual sophistication. The characters on board form a cross-section of society—retired lens grinder Jean Hersholt, his daughter Lois Moran, ‘baggage smasher’ Edmund Lowe, banker John Halliday, society lady Myrna Loy, gangster Earle Fox, et al.—that freely intersects and disconnects from scene to scene. Underrated stylist William K. Howard and cameraman James Wong Howe make the most of the cramped, Art Deco quarters, unfurling deep-focus compositions and endless tracking shots with casual aplomb. (For Dalton Trumbo, then reviewing new releases for The Hollywood Spectator, “James Howe’s camera work is so far above the average that comparison is ridiculous.”) No complete version of the American release survives, but this new reconstruction achieves more-than-seaworthy results by marrying the soundtrack of the US version with picture from French, Italian, and Spanish prints. As Transatlantic sat unseen for decades, it was often dismissively known as “Grand Hotel, but on an ocean liner.” Now that Transatlantic has been restored, we may need to start referring to M-G-M’s all-star showcase as “Transatlantic, but in a hotel.” Restored by The Museum of Modern Art with funding provided by The Film Foundation, The George Lucas Family Foundation, and The Celeste Bartos Preservation Fund. (KW)
74 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, permission Criterion Pictures, USA
Cartoon: “Land of the Midnight Fun” (Tex Avery, 1939) – 9 min – 16mm — This faux travelogue documents a steamer’s trip from New York’s harbor to Alaska and back, packing in a multitude of surreal sight gags and word play.