Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Before Eve there was Evil… and her name was Lilith!” Robert Rossen’s Masterpiece in a 35mm Vault Print

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, February 6 @ 7:30pm
LILITH
Directed by Robert Rossen • 1964
After the critical and box office success of The Hustler, writer-director Robert Rossen could have made any film he wanted. He chose this deeply private psychological drama, a near-clinical treatise that regards love as an essentially irrational experience. Jean Seberg delivers a career performance as Lilith, the schizophrenic woman whose advanced withdrawal from society extends to the invention of her own language.  After neophyte occupational therapist Warren Beatty makes a breakthrough with the young patient, he finds himself happily seduced by her assertive personality. But Lilith is a mad siren, using her sexuality to seed the world with primal trauma. Described by Dave Kehr as “a masterpiece . . . conceived in shades of white so delicate and elusive that the picture barely seems to brush the screen,” Lilith makes sunlight as unnerving as shadow. Co-stars Kim Hunter, Peter Fonda, and Gene Hackman in his first credited role. (KW)
114 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm Vault Print from Sony Pictures Repertory
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Lens of Death” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

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The Flying Ace: “Greatest Airplane Thriller Ever Produced” Restored 35mm Print from the Library of Congress

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, January 30 @ 7:30pm
THE FLYING ACE
Directed by Richard E. Norman • 1926
With live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren!
Jacksonville, Florida was once “The Winter Film Capital of the World,” providing year-round sunlight to beleaguered East Coast moviemakers. By 1926, most production had decamped to Hollywood, but the Norman Film Manufacturing Company remained, making low-budget “race films” for exhibition in segregated theaters across America. White entrepreneur-director-distributor Richard E. Norman lured noted Harlem actor Lawrence Criner to Jacksonville for the title role in The Flying Ace, an aviation drama with an explicit agenda of racial uplift. Criner stars as Captain Billy Stokes, a World War I hero who turns detective when the railroad paymaster goes missing. It’s a measure of The Flying Ace’s effectiveness as a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser that we don’t even care that Norman skimped on the aerial stunts, with all the flying sequences playing out against a hastily painted sky. Beautifully restored by the Library of Congress, this vital piece of regional cinema will leave you giddy. (KW)
65 min • Norman Film Manufacturing Co. • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Serial: Captain Marvel: “The Scorpion Strikes” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

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Somewhere Between Growing Up and Settling Down: Breaking Away in 35mm This Wednesday

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, January 23 @ 7:30pm
BREAKING AWAY
Directed by Peter Yates • 1979
Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley are four Bloomington townies on the brink of adulthood, adamantly putting off going to college (expensive), joining the army (dangerous), or going to work (i.e., selling used cars). Bitterly opposed to the privileged social elite at Indiana University, Dennis Christopher enters the annual ‘Little Indy’ cycling race as an act of defiance and falls head over heels for IU undergraduate Robyn Douglas, masquerading as an Italian foreign exchange student to win her over. Peter Yates (Bullitt, The Friends of Eddie Coyle) directed an Oscar-winning semi-autobiographical script by Yugoslavian-born Steve Tesich, who moved to Bloomington when he was 13 and won the Little 500 bicycle race of 1962. The film has the kind of sweet, unsentimental outlook that people like Studs Terkel saw in America and, per Time Out-London, “went out of fashion with [Howard] Hawks.” Breaking Away deals with class issues and coming of age in a way that movies no longer think to do (and even in 1979 a film like Breaking Away was an exception to the rule) and in 2013 is just as relevant. (JA)
101 min • 20th Century Fox • 35mm Vault Print from Fox
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Death Takes the Wheel” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

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The Film That Made Tab Hunter Cry! Super-Rare Western Gunman’s Walk This Monday in a 35mm Vault Print!

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Monday, January 21 @ 7:30pm
GUNMAN’S WALK
Directed by Phil Karlson • 1958
Scripted by Frank Nugent (The Searchers), Gunman’s Walk stars Tab Hunter as the drunken, gunslinging son of lawless rancher Van Heflin, and James Darren as his polar opposite brother, a dark, brooding pacifist in love with half-Indian Kathryn Grant. Better known for bitter neorealist noirs like 99 River Street and The Phenix City Story, Chicago-born Phil Karlson returned to his B-western roots with Gunman’s Walk. Shot in color and blazing CinemaScope, Karlson traded in his talent for restraint without losing any impact, gaining a startlingly beautiful view of Tuscon, Arizona and an incredible chase scene between Tab Hunter and a white mare. Per the director, “When I do color, I think in terms of black and white … we know that blood’s going to be awfully red and it’s going to be pretty disgusting when they see it.” The often uneven Tab Hunter is a revelation here, and Gunman’s Walk is as good a western as it is a broken family drama. Home video rights on this title are perpetually held up, so this may very well be your only chance to see the film. (JA)
97 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm Vault Print from Sony Pictures Repertory
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Time Bomb” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 17 min

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And don’t forget about our regularly scheduled Wednesday program at the Portage

Wednesday, January 23 @ 7:30pm
BREAKING AWAY
Directed by Peter Yates • 1979
Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley are four Bloomington townies on the brink of adulthood, adamantly putting off going to college (expensive), joining the army (dangerous), or going to work (i.e., selling used cars). Bitterly opposed to the privileged social elite at Indiana University, Dennis Christopher enters the annual ‘Little Indy’ cycling race as an act of defiance and falls head over heels for IU undergraduate Robyn Douglas, masquerading as an Italian foreign exchange student to win her over. Peter Yates (Bullitt, The Friends of Eddie Coyle) directed an Oscar-winning semi-autobiographical script by Yugoslavian-born Steve Tesich, who moved to Bloomington when he was 13 and won the Little 500 bicycle race of 1962. The film has the kind of sweet, unsentimental outlook that people like Studs Terkel saw in America and, per Time Out-London, “went out of fashion with [Howard] Hawks.” Breaking Away deals with class issues and coming of age in a way that movies no longer think to do (and even in 1979 a film like Breaking Away was an exception to the rule) and in 2013 is just as relevant. (JA)
101 min • 20th Century Fox • 35mm Vault Print from Fox
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Death Takes the Wheel” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

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Hey! There’s Lubitsch in My Borzage! One-of-a-Kind Collaboration Desire in 35mm at the Portage

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, January 16 @ 7:30pm
DESIRE
Directed by Frank Borzage • 1936
During Ernst Lubitsch’s ill-fated tenure as production chief at Paramount, he supervised some sixty pictures, but signed only one: Desire, a continental romantic comedy of the highest order. Gary Cooper stars as a breezily laconic American auto designer whose Spanish vacation is ruined when Marlene Dietrich decides to flirt, steal his car, and promptly drive it over a cliff. She’s an expert jewel thief who plans only to use Cooper as mule for smuggling a necklace across the border but winds up falling for the dope, who is, after all, both a good mechanic and an endearingly not-good singer. (If Lubitsch’s objective was partly to bring the Dietrich persona back down to Earth after the back-to-back box office failures of The Scarlet Empress and The Devil is a Woman, then he couldn’t have chosen a more demonstrative turnabout than her giddy anticipation of becoming a Detroit housewife.) What begins as a stridently Lubitschian exchange of cynical repartee soon melts into a world of sincere, carnal immediacy only possible through the unabashed romanticism of Frank Borzage. (KW)
96 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Serial: Captain Marvel: “The Guillotine” (John English & William Witney, 1941) - 35mm – 16 min

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The Walls of Jericho – A Great Movie You’ve Never Seen Based on a Great Book You’ve Never Read

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, January 9 @ 7:30pm
THE WALLS OF JERICHO
Directed by John M. Stahl • 1948
In Jericho, Kansas at the turn of the century, county lawyer Cornel Wilde endures endless suffering and public humiliation at the hands of his drunken wife (Ann Dvorak) while trying to spur a hopeless romance with Anne Baxter. Their affair is repressed in an effort to preserve Wilde’s fledgling political career, which is effectively destroyed by Linda Darnell when Wilde rejects her advances. Based on Great Plains novelist Paul Wellman’s long out-of-print (but reportedly fantastic) book of the same name, The Walls of Jericho lies somewhere between director John M. Stahl’s nasty, writhing Leave Her to Heaven and his devastating melodramas (the original versions of Magnificent Obsession, Imitation of Life, and Back Street). A seething Southern fable simultaneously touching and disturbing, Jericho‘s sinister way of displaying a crumbling town and stilted way of communicating with its audience have a lingering, cumulative effect that crawls under the skin. (JA)
106 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Curse of the Scorpion” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 30 min

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