Monthly Archives: December 2019

New Season Begins in Style with Ernst Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg – 35mm Screening on Jan. 4 at the Music Box Theatre w/ Organist Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre
3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11

Saturday, January 4 @ 11:30 AM
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1927
Live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott
Ernst Lubitsch had already acquitted himself capably in bringing the wit of Oscar Wilde to the screen without the benefit of spoken dialogue in his version of Lady Windermere’s Fan, so why wouldn’t he attempt Sigmund Romberg’s famous operetta The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg without the music? As in Lubitsch’s best work, the perverse constraints of the set-up serve to elevate the emotional stakes and refine the visual grammar. Ramon Novarro stars as Crown Prince Karl Heinrich, a pampered brat whose life only becomes human-sized again when he and his tutor Dr. Jüttner (Jean Hersholt) take in the earthy pleasures of Old Heidelberg. Karl soon falls for Kathi (Norma Shearer), the waitress at a Heidelberg biergarten and a spunky antidote to the foreordained strain of royal responsibility. Budgeted at more than a million dollars, The Student Prince represents M-G-M’s late silent style at its most spendthrift. (Although some footage was shot in Heidelberg, Laurel Canyon was ultimately deemed an adequate substitute.) “Lubitsch took his tongue out of his cheek when he directed this special,” lamented Variety, which oddly held the film’s immaculately realized high romanticism against it. “It’s not farce and it’s not drama. Just a pretty love story of peaches and cream that may have put perfume in the director’s cigars as he supervised.” (KW)
105 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Bros.
Preceded by: “The Leopard’s Spots” (Walter Lantz and Clyde Geronimi, 1925) – 9 min – 16mm

Coming Soon!

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

Wednesday, January 8 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Garson Kanin • 1940
Hollywood has never been an industry willing to let a good formula go to waste. So it was that RKO shamelessly reconstituted Columbia Pictures’ Leo McCarey-directed screwball sensation The Awful Truth into their own quasi-remake, once more pairing Truth stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as feuding spouses under the stewardship of McCarey (producing this time). Whereas The Awful Truth saw its upper-crust leads locked in a comparatively banal struggle over “irreconcilable differences,” My Favorite Wife bent over backwards to envision a scenario in which any and all mishaps, misunderstandings, and miscommunications could flourish, unhampered by reason, believability, or potential legal ramifications. This time out, Dunne plays Ellen Arden, a wife and mother who’s spent seven years shipwrecked on a remote island. She returns to civilization to find her husband Nick (Grant) has on that very day had her declared dead and has summarily remarried. Nick’s reunion with his legally deceased wife is initially a happy one, but his fumbling attempts to broach the topic of annulment with his new bride and the later discovery that Ellen was stranded alongside a hunky male consort (Grant’s longtime roommate Randolph Scott, showing a healthy amount of skin) ensure that, in classic screwball fashion, no good coupling goes unpunished. Preserved by the Library of Congress. (CW)
88 min • RKO • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Brothers
Preceded by: “Hollywood Steps Out” (Tex Avery, 1941) – 7 min – 16mm

See what’s coming up for the rest of the season!

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