It’s Time for Study Hall with Prof. Eustace McGargle: W.C. Fields in Poppy – Thanksgiving Eve in 35mm

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

Wednesday, November 27 @ 7:30 PM
POPPY
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland • 1936
Snake oil salesman Prof. Eustace P. McGargle (W.C. Fields) travels from town to town with his adopted daughter Poppy (Rochelle Hudson), who really deserves better than being chased around by bamboozled yokels. Following Sally of the Sawdust (1925), the second adaptation of the 1923 Broadway show that brought W.C. Fields to fame was produced with the star nearly at death’s door. Suffering from multiple medical conditions exacerbated by years of continuous drinking, rumor has it that most of Fields’s long shots were actually his stunt double John Sinclair (all the more reason to cement Fields’s reputation as Chicago Film Society’s go-to hero for Thankgsiving Eve). Production issues aside, Fields still plays a mean game of croquet, and Poppy is both spit-out-the-mustard-you-snuck-in hilarious and, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very affectionate and genuine film about how to make the best of the family you’re stuck into. Not another peep until you put your foot in it. (JA)
73 min • Paramount Pictures •  35mm from Universal
Short: W.C. Fields in“The Fatal Glass of Beer” (Clyde Bruckman, 1933) – 18 min – 16mm


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

Monday, December 2 @ 7:00 PM
DRUMLINE
Directed by Charles Stone III • 2002
Nick Cannon stars as an incoming freshman and talented snare drum player at the fictional Atlanta A&T University, a place where the halftime shows far outshine the football (which you won’t see any of in this film). In a beautiful trifecta of egos, he’s also an incorrigible show-off who clashes with his controlling percussion leader (Leonard Roberts) and his band director (Orlando Jones), a man so dead set against modern music he counters their rival band’s au courant hip-hop compositions with “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Drumline’s depiction of black college life is a rare and much needed addition to Hollywood cinema, yet its most tremendous achievement may lie in its production, shooting with a marching band built from scratch out of mostly high school musicians, and a drumline composed of real HBCU drummers and the actors who trained incessantly alongside them. The competition scenes showcase some of the greatest real-life marching bands of the South, and they are beautifully shot, heart-pounding affairs, with the final showdown being well worth the price of admission. Though some bands declined to be part of the final scenes, as band consultant Don Roberts remembers they responded politely, “Thank you for the invitation to participate, however, we don’t lose. Not in real life and not in fiction.”  (RL)
118 min • 20th Century Fox •  35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “New Orleans Street Parade” (1968) – 5 min – 16mm from Smithsonian Institution Archives
Co-presented by CHIRP 107.1 FM

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