Chicago Grows Up: World City In Its Teens Screens August 24 in 35mm at the Music Box with Dennis Scott!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N Southport Ave
Tickets: $11 • BUY TICKETS NOW

Saturday, August 24 at 2:30 PM
Directed by Heinrich Hauser • 1931
Live organ accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Audiences flocked to flapper comedies and epic spectacles, but with nearly a century’s remove, the quintessential cinema genre in the late 1920s and early 1930s may well have been the city symphony—an international idiom that bluntly analogized the frenetic pace of modern urban life with celluloid montage. City symphonies run the gamut from the formalist triumphalism of Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City to the boundless experimentation of Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, which isn’t even content to profile a single metropolis! One especially neglected example is Heinrich Hauser’s Weltstadt in Flegeljahren: Ein bericht über Chicago, which offers almost as many perspectives on the Windy City as its mouthful of a title has inspired variant English translations, among them World City In Its Teens, A World City Stretches Its Wings, and Metropolis at an Awkward Age. Hauser, a nomadic German writer and photographer, visited Chicago in 1931 and recorded a wide range of neighborhoods and conditions, fashioning a civic portrait both dazzling and bleak, sterling and sobering. Back home, the Berliner Borsen-Zeitung praised the film for its vision of “America stripped of illusions.” For us, Hauser’s film serves as a reminder of the longevity of Chicago’s tangle of contradictions. (KW)
74 min • 35mm from EYE Filmmuseum

Short: “Halsted Street” (Conrad O. Nelson, 1931) – 12 min – 16mm from MoMA Circulating Film & Video Library


Music Box Theatre – 3733 N Southport Ave
Tickets: $10 • BUY TICKETS NOW

Monday, August 26 at 7:30 PM
Directed by Joan Tewkesbury • 1979
Dianne Cruise (Talia Shire) can’t make heads or tails of life after her divorce. A nervous breakdown and a collision with a concrete wall catapult her into self-reflection and like any sensible, recently dumped person, she takes her current troubles as a sign that she should track down some of her old flames. So begins the sole, long-unavailable theatrical feature directed by Nashville and Thieves Like Us screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury, a cracked, soapy psychodrama that continually threatens to break into being a romantic comedy (or vice versa), the likes of which would become effectively unimaginable at the close of the ’70s. Dianne’s romantic odyssey will see her digging ever further into her past, beginning with her college beau Jeff (Richard Jordan), now a commercial filmmaker, proceeding to the boorish rock ‘n’ roller she dated in high school (a tremendous John Belushi, given a chance to try out his Blues Brothers schtick under the most pathetic of circumstances) before eventually arriving at the home of her childhood sweetheart Lewis, where she meets his younger brother Wayne (Keith Carradine) and heedlessly, destructively inserts herself in the middle of a still-fresh family trauma. Structured around a series of Dianne’s diary entries (a favorite tactic of screenwriter Paul Schrader, working here with his brother Leonard), Old Boyfriends indulges in a plethora of dead ends and weird digressions that a more conventional romantic melodrama would streamline out of existence, fully wallowing in the gooey pleasures and abject horrors of looking for true love. Long out of circulation and difficult to see, Old Boyfriends returns to Chicago in a brand new 35mm print courtesy of Rialto Pictures. (CW)
103 min • Embassy Pictures • New 35mm from Rialto

Cartoon: “Beware of Barnacle Bill” (Fleischer Studios, 1935) – 7 min – 16mm

View the full season schedule here!

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