Monthly Archives: September 2019

Kaboom! Steve De Jarnatt’s Miracle Mile Detonates in 35mm – Monday, Sept. 30 at the Music Box Theatre

Music Box Theatre / 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10

Monday, September 30 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by Steve De Jarnatt • 1988
Hip-to-be-square trombone player Harry (Anthony Edwards) and genuinely hip diner waitress Julie (Mare Winningham) meet cute at the La Brea Tar Pits, liberate a tank of lobsters, and plan a date after she gets off work at a quarter past midnight. The self-declared King of the Glenn Miller Impersonators naps too long and misses their date, but arrives at Johnie’s Coffee Shop just in time to pick up a ringing pay phone. Wrong number—a panicked man in a North Dakota missile silo trying to warn his father of an imminent nuclear exchange. If it’s not a prank, Harry has 70 minutes to find Julie, hire a freelance helicopter pilot, and escape to Antarctica with the night owls from Johnie’s. This propulsive, real-time journey through nocturnal Los Angeles glows like an atomic Lite-Brite and gambols to the ambient drone of Tangerine Dream. Though it begins as a rom-com with a stealth agenda, this masterful and sharply funny thriller ultimately earns a place alongside such landmark social disintegration freakouts as Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and its East Coast contemporary, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. A legendary script that floated around Hollywood for a decade, Miracle Mile finally detonated in theaters in spring 1989, the last fallout of Cold War cinema. Tragically and inexplicably, writer-director Steve De Jarnatt’s career would remain stuck in the TV tar pits, with this and Cherry 2000 his only features to date. (KW)
87 min • Hemdale Picture Corporation • 35mm from Park Circus
Short: “Journey to Tomorrow: Communication” (Fern Field, 1983) – 18 min – 16mm

Coming Soon

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

Wednesday, October 2 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Phil Karlson • 1960
With considerable distance from its subject material, the World War II epic Hell to Eternity, directed by Chicago-born Phil Karlson (The Phenix City Story), marries a frank look at anti-Japanese hate in the United States with a patriotic “true” story. Based on the life of real soldier Guy Gabaldon (Jeffrey Hunter), whose own Mexican American heritage is eliminated from the film, Hell to Eternity divides evenly into two halves. The first part focuses on Gabaldon’s experience growing up with a Japanese American adoptive family in the years leading up to World War II. The second depicts a gruesome campaign in which Gabaldon’s ability to speak Japanese results in surrender. The film is one of remarkably few Hollywood films concerned with Japanese American life during WWII, and one of even fewer to address Japanese American internment camps. A brief, frank, scene in which Gabaldon sees his family carted away to concentration camps is especially shocking to watch in 2019. Indeed, Karlson spoke of his attempts to get his “little pieces of truth” into films, sneaking past a conservative studio, and he considered Hell to Eternity to be “one of his most important pictures.” This was also the final film for silent era actress Tsuri Aoki, who plays Gabaldon’s mother, as well as the final film featuring both her and her husband Sessue Hayakawa. (VM)
131 min • Allied Artists Pictures •  35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Swank
Short:  Frank Sinatra in “The House I Live In” (Mervyn LeRoy, 1945) – 11 min – 16mm

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