Isn’t It Romantic? Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald in Love Me Tonight in 35mm – Jan. 22

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

Wednesday, January 22 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian • 1932
The frothy, continental musical was something of a cottage industry for Paramount Pictures in the early sound era, but Rouben Mamoulian had something different in mind from the comparatively sedentary films set in well-furnished rooms that the studio was putting out. Favoring fluid, promenading camerawork and bombastic cinematic rhythms inspired by European surrealists like René Clair, Love Me Tonight showed that the movie musical could use more than just songs to prove its musicality, revolutionizing the form by moving its setpieces down boulevards and straight through windows and imbuing whole towns with the spirit of a tune. Maurice Chevalier stars as a lowly tailor who falls for Jeannette MacDonald’s haughty princess. Hamstrung by their class difference, he presents himself to her as a baron and launches a cascade of double entendres amidst a campaign to thaw her heart. Furnished with wall-to-wall hits courtesy of songwriting team Rodgers and Hart (most famously Chevalier’s signature tune “Isn’t It Romantic?,” which anchors one of the film’s most charming flights of fancy) and a scene-stealing supporting cast (particularly ne’er-do-well Charles Ruggles and a gloriously horny Myrna Loy), Love Me Tonight indulged heedlessly in all of the pleasures the movie musical could thus far offer, earning it a vaunted status as one of the genre’s most reliably intoxicating offerings. (CW)
89 min • Paramount • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Betty Boop in “Betty Boop’s Big Boss” (Fleischer Brothers, 1933) – 7 min – 16mm

“thrilling and innovative” – Dave Kehr

“Magical, rapturous, unique, charming, audacious, unforgettable and, to beat a dying warhorse, masterpiece.” – Richard Barrios

Watch the trailer for LOVE ME TONIGHT

Coming Soon

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

Monday, January 27 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by William Dieterle • 1948
There are supernatural romances and then there’s Portrait of Jennie — an unassailable work of visionary delirium and towering claptrap that is easily the strangest film ever recalled fondly by your TCM-loving aunt. Starving artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) doesn’t know it yet, but one day he’ll graduate from turning out middle-aged juvenilia like flower and lighthouse paintings to creating works worthy of being hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His artistic maturation is accelerated by a chance encounter in Central Park with Jennie (Jennifer Jones), a flesh-and-blood Gibson Girl with the diction and dress of an earlier generation. Her apparition reappears to Eben periodically, each time a little older and a little more plausible as a romantic partner. A costly flop upon its belated release, the film embodied the obsessive zeal of producer David O. Selznick, but no amount of demonstrable “good taste” (music from Debussy, quotes from Euripides and Keats) could ground the material’s innately surrealistic freak flag. A ghost story unmoored in time, Portrait of Jennie reaches back to silent cinema to find its most expressive and idiosyncratic aesthetic effects, summoning tinting and Magnascope back from a watery grave in the stupendous final reel. Cinematographer Joseph August would die of a heart attack before the production was completed, literalizing the film’s central conceit of an artwork dictated from the beyond. (KW)
86 min • The Selznick Studio • 35mm from The Walt Disney Company
Preceded by: “Closed Mondays” (Bob Gardiner, Will Vinton, 1974) – 8 min – 35mm

Watch the trailer for PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

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

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