Monthly Archives: September 2011

Wednesday 10/5: “The Black Room” at the Portage Theater

In the Classic Film Series this Wednesday, October 5th we’ll be screening
Roy William Neill’s THE BLACK ROOM in a 35mm print from Sony Repertory!
The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.
 

THE BLACK ROOM
Directed by Roy William Neill • 1935
Columbia’s lone effort in the first wave of talkie terror provides an unlikely climax to the whole cycle. Like Universal’s horror pictures, the setting is distinctly generic Mittel Europe, where villagers whisper of prophesies and torture chambers. Two twin brothers—Baron Gregor and Anton de Bergmann (Boris Karloff and Boris Karloff)—have voluntarily separated to stave off a divisive curse: one will kill the other in The Black Room. But Gregor’s brand of landed gentility—homicidal hounds and ravaged maidens across the countryside—calls for a moderate face and so Anton returns to the fold. The lynch mob of Frankenstein finds a political, rather than supernatural, target. A reminder of the top-notch set design, atmospheric photography, and rollicking editing that Columbia’s technicians were more than capable of achieving but rarely called upon to perform, The Black Room is a neglected Gothic classic. (KW)
68 min • Columbia • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Short: The Three Stooges in “Who Done It?” (1949, Edward Bernds) – 35mm

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Next Week: Two Nights of Westerns! “Fury at Showdown” at Cinema Borealis and “Western Union” at the Portage Theater

In the Classic Film Series this Wednesday, September 28th we’ll be screening
Fritz Lang’s WESTERN UNION
The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

September 28th
WESTERN UNION
Directed by Fritz Lang • 1941
A very young Randolph Scott is a reformed outlaw laying wire in the Great Plains for the telegraph service. All hell breaks loose when Scott’s brother rounds up a band of degenerates trying to prevent the connecting line between Salt Lake City and Omaha. Made two years after Cecil B. DeMille’s Union Pacific, a similarly great film about America’s similarly great industry, Western Union is a violent (by the end of the film Scott doesn’t have much of his hands left) picture about the breaking in of late nineteenth-century America. The first great Technicolor western, this Kodachrome print (which dates back to 1945) represents some of the best color reproduction possible with ultrasaturated reds, blues, and blacks, and does eye-popping justice (with the exception of some light base scratches) to one of Lang’s most visceral films. With Robert Young and John Carradine. (JA)
95 min • 20th Century Fox • 16mm Kodachrome, permission Criterion Pictures, USA
Short: “Knight of the Trail” (William S. Hart, 1915) – 16mm

****

Also this week, we’ll be screening FURY AT SHOWDOWN at Cinema Borealis in Wicker Park in collaboration with the Nightingale.

Tuesday, September 27th – 8 pm
Cinema Borealis, located at 1550 North Milwaukee Ave, 4th floor
Suggested Donation is $10


FURY AT SHOWDOWN
Directed by Gerd Oswald • 1957
A severely underrated mini-masterpiece of a Western made by a director who would work in relative obscurity making some of the best episodes of The Fugitive, The Outer Limits, and Perry Mason a decade later, Fury at Showdown stars John Derek as a gunslinger looking to give up his life of crime and settle down on a cattle ranch. The best laid plans fall apart when Derek’s brother is murdered on the orders of the town’s land hungry lawyer Gage Clarke. Equally sincere, William S. Hart’s 1915 two reeler The Ruse will precede the film, with live accompaniment by Seth Vanek on piano. Hart is a reformed gunfighter turned prospector, who travels to Chicago to collect on a business deal with a mine promoter who turns out to be crooked.
75 min • Robert Goldstein Productions • 16mm from the Radio Cinema Film Archive
Short: “The Ruse” (William S. Hart, 1915) 16mm with live accompaniment by Seth Vanek

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Wednesday 9/21: “The Hitch-Hiker” at the Portage Theater

In the Classic Film Series this Wednesday, September 21st we’ll be screening
Ida Lupino’s THE HITCH-HIKER in a restored 35mm print from the Library of Congress!
The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

THE HITCH-HIKER
Directed by Ida Lupino • 1953
Based on the true-life story of Billy Cook and adapted in part from a short story by then-blacklisted Out of the Past screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring, The Hitch-Hiker stars Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy as two longtime-pals-on-a-fishing-trip and William Talman as the mass-murdering psychopath they pick up. Directed the same year as Lupino’s The Bigamist, a weird little weepie about a young couple trying to adopt a baby, The Hitch-Hiker takes place in a totally different world. It’s a tense, leathery thriller with Pre-Code timing, but it’s also remarkably sensitive and honest for an economical piece of film noir. Lupino directs a film that’s more about the relationship between two hostages than an overall feeling of dread and despair, and few films of its kind are so emotionally effective. (JA)
71 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm print Preserved by the Library of Congress
Cartoon: Porky & Daffy in “Thumb Fun” (1952) – 35mm IB Technicolor

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This Week: “I Know Where I’m Going!” and “The Incident”

In the Classic Film Series this Wednesday, September 14th we’ll be screening
Powell and Pressburger’s I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING
The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

September 14th
I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING!
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger • 1945
Determined to escape her middle-class background, stubborn 25-year-old Wendy Hiller leaves her home in Manchester with plans to marry a wealthy old industrialist in Scotland, but gets stranded on the Island of Mull and falls in love with a young Naval Officer instead. By the time Hiller can get to her fiancé, she has no reason to. Shot in monochrome by Erwin Hillier, Powell and Pressburger’s most visually impressive film is also their most humbling. Per James Agee, “The sensitive photography and intelligent use of sound do more than enough to make eloquent the influence of place on people.” Showing humans in heaven (A Matter of Life and Death) is one thing, but A Canterbury Tale and I Know Where I’m Going, The Archers’ two films in which the English landscape is as much a character as anything else, make heaven out of earth. (JA)
91 min • The Archers/The Rank Organisation • 35mm from MGM
Puppetoon: “Together in the Weather” (1946, George Pal) – 16mm Kodachrome

****

Also this week, we’ll be screening THE INCIDENT at Cinema Borealis in Wicker Park in collaboration with the Nightingale.

Tuesday, September 13th – 8 pm
Cinema Borealis, located at 1550 North Milwaukee Ave, 4th floor
Suggested Donation is $10

THE INCIDENT
Directed by Larry Peerce • 1967
Two young thugs (Tony Musante and Badlands’ Martin Sheen in his first on screen role) terrorize passengers on a late night subway ride in New York City. What begins as a standard piece of inner city pulp quickly spirals into a delicate microcosm of New York City under pressure. Not available on DVD and reportedly never screened in England due to issues with the censors (surprising, as it shares a lot of political similarities with Lindsay Anderson’s If…. released just a year later), The Incident has maintained a small cult following from late night screenings on TV, but theatrical screenings are few and far between. This particular print last played at the New York Transit Museum and we can only assume that the attendees all took cabs home. With Beau Bridges, Ruby Dee, Jack Gilford, Thelma Ritter, and Jan Sterling. (JA)
107 min • 20th Century Fox • 16mm, permission Criterion
Cartoon: “Jerry’s Cousin” (Joseph Barbera, William Hanna, 1951) 35mm Technicolor

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