An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Rudy Ray Moore in Disco Godfather – Archival 35mm Print – Tonite at the Music Box

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

Watch a trailer for DISCO GODFATHER

Monday, February 10 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by J. Robert Wagoner • 1979
Copresented with CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM
An iconoclastic, revolutionary comedic voice and independent media mogul, king-of-the-party-record Rudy Ray Moore entered another echelon of cult stardom after decades of underground notoriety with the cycle of wild, unruly, independently produced exploitation pictures in which he starred in the 1970s. After originating the super-pimp folk hero Dolemite and the homicidal stand-up comedian Petey Wheatstraw, a 50-something-year-old Moore found himself closing out his biggest decade by playing a law-abiding citizen for the first time in his career, the titular Disco Godfather, besequined overseer of the hottest dance floor on the West Coast. When his basketball prodigy nephew Bucky ends up in the hospital spun out on angel dust, the Disco Godfather decides it’s up to him to “attack the wack!” and sets about waging a one-man war against the local PCP trade. A vital document of vintage Black disco culture, Disco Godfather would ultimately prove less persuasive as an antidrug PSA than as a vehicle for squelching bouts of unmoored DIY psychedelia set to a series of killer original dance grooves. As an appealingly homemade and fundamentally unserious riff on kung fu and blaxploitation tropes, it also fell in line with Moore’s other independent pictures, more than making up for its budgetary poverty with a goofball exuberance thanks in no small part to the strutting, rapping presence of Moore himself, an electrifying screen personality the American cinema has yet to see the likes of again. (CW)
93 min • Generation International Pictures • 35mm from UNCSA Moving Image Archives, permission Xenon Pictures
Preceded by: Blaxploitation trailer reel — ~10 min — 35mm 

Coming Soon

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

Saturday, February 15 @ 11:30 AM
Directed by Erle C. Kenton • 1928
Live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott
The flapper captured America’s tender imagination in the 1920s, and Hollywood gave the public what it wanted with star showcases such as Olive Thomas’s The Flapper, Clara Bow’s It, and Joan Crawford’s Our Dancing Daughters. Leave it to low-budget independent Gotham Productions to deliver the most whole-hearted endorsement of the archetype in Bare Knees, rated “a good cure for flapper pessimists” by Photoplay. With her modern fashion and penchant for cigarettes, Billie (Virginia Lee Corbin) sticks out from the moment she arrives in Hanford City, a marked contrast to her prim sister Jane (Jane Winton) and her district attorney husband (Forrest Stanley). Billie soon turns the sleepy town upside-down with new uniforms for the women’s softball team and fresh insights into conservative hypocrisy. With no star egos to weigh down the proceedings, Bare Knees emerges as a fleet and crisp time capsule — it’s barely an hour, but it’s crammed with clever wordplay and fiery setpieces. Initially distributed by the fly-by-night Lumas Film Corporation, the filmsurvives thanks to film collector Lou DiCrescenzo, whose nitrate print (snapped up at a flea market for five dollars per reel!) was preserved by the Library of Congress with the support of the Ambler Theater. (KW)
60 min • Gotham Productions • 35mm from Library of Congress
Preceded by: “Ginger Snaps” (Charles Lamont, 1929) – 20 min – 16mm

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

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