Monthly Archives: February 2013

Say Good Evening to Yasujiro Ozu’s Good Morning – Stunning 35mm Print This Wednesday 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, March 6 @ 7:30pm
GOOD MORNING [OHAYÔ]
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu • 1959
In a small westernized suburb in Japan, two brothers go on strike at home and school in an effort to get their parents to buy them a television set to watch sumo wrestling. An Eastern answer to Douglas Sirk’s 1950s melodramas from the master of melodrama itself, this loose remake of Ozu’s I Was Born, But… is filled with nosy neighbors and characterized by a gorgeous pastel Agfacolor palette. While Good Morning is a slight departure from Ozu’s usual heavier material, it’s also a gentle critique of ready-made 1950s culture permeating both hemispheres, suggesting that the only thing more ridiculous than its two heroes pining for a TV set and their overextended fart jokes (fair warning) is the way this new breed of postwar grown-ups tiptoe around saying what they really feel. (JA)
In Japanese with English subtitles
94 min • Shochiku • 35mm from Janus Films
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Doom Ship” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

Posted in News | Comments Off

Mitchell Leisen’s Hold Back the Dawn
Rare Best Picture Nominee 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, February 27 @ 7:30pm
HOLD BACK THE DAWN
Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1941
Finding his raucous European playground inelegantly transformed into a war zone, Romanian dancer and gigolo Charles Boyer sets out for America; he gets as far as Mexico, denied entry to the US on the basis of an antiquated quota system. After resigning himself to a lifetime in the Esperanza flophouse, Boyer learns from ex-lover Paulette Goddard that an entrance visa is just a marriage license away. Setting his sights on mousy American school teacher Olivia DeHavilland, Boyer discovers the perils and rewards of citizenship and true love, in that order. Unfairly denigrated by co-writer Billy Wilder as the movie that prompted him to become a director (he harbored lifelong resentment towards Mitchell Leisen when he acceded to Boyer’s request to cut a melancholic, one-sided conversation with a cockroach), Hold Back the Dawn requires no apology. A romantic melodrama blessed with acid wit or perhaps a farce that cannot help but reflect the seriousness of its historical moment, it remains a singular treasure. (KW)
116 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Dead Man’s Trap” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 16 min

Posted in News | Comments Off

The Third Degree – Michael Curtiz’s First American Film!
In 35mm with Live Organ Accompaniment by Jay Warren

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 20 @ 7:30pm
THE THIRD DEGREE
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1926
With live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren!
Dolores Costello stars as a Coney Island trapeze artist whose marriage to playboy Jason Robards triggers a cascade of familial betrayal, murder, and false confessions in the American debut of future Casablanca director Michael Curtiz. Already a veteran of some sixty films in Europe, Hungarian émigré Curtiz (née Mihály Kertész) arrived in Hollywood in 1926 and immediately set about establishing himself as the most dogged and versatile filmmaker on the Warner Bros. lot. His first assignment was hardly promising: a 1908 stage melodrama pivoting on the novelty of police brutality that had already been filmed twice before. Shifting the play’s main action to a circus and finding the slightest pretext for an endless parade of elaborate camera movements and wild superimpositions, Curtiz and cameraman Hal Mohr made a film that earned favorable comparison to recent German imports like Variety. “I do not see a scene with my eyes,” claimed Curtiz, “I see a scene with camera-eyes.” (KW)
85 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Boomerang” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 17 min

Posted in News | Comments Off

Bring Me to the Portage to See Sam Peckinpah’s
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia in 35mm!

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, February 18 @ 7:30pm
BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA
Directed by Sam Peckinpah • 1974
Living at the end of his rope, small town piano player and bar manager Warren Oates is offered $10k by two bounty hunters for the head of Mexican outlaw Alfredo Garcia. Oates takes the offer, hoping to secure a better life for himself and his new fiancée Elita (Isela Vega). Inspired in great part by John Huston’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Peckinpah’s story of unadulterated desperation was met with equal doses of critical and commercial rejection. By 1974, violence in American cinema had been tacitly embraced by critics and audiences alike. This was the year of box office heavyweights The Godfather Part II ($57m) and Texas Chain Saw Massacre ($31m), yet somehow Alfredo Garcia ($2m) was trashed by nearly every American critic other than Roger Ebert, who wrote that he could “feel Sam Peckinpah’s heart beating and head pounding in every frame.” In an era when Hollywood seemed more and more emotionally detached, Alfredo Garcia emerged gut-wrenchingly personal. It’s now recognized as one of the most important (and rewarding) films of the ‘70s. This screening will be introduced by our friend and Peckinpah historian Steven Lloyd, who contributed to the recently published Peckinpah Today. (JA)
112 min • United Artists • 35mm from Park Circus
Cartoon: “Behind the Meat-Ball” (Frank Tashlin, 1945) – 16mm – 8 min

——

And come back on Wednesday for an incredibly rare silent cinema treasure:

Wednesday, February 20 @ 7:30pm
THE THIRD DEGREE
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1926
With live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren!
Dolores Costello stars as a Coney Island trapeze artist whose marriage to playboy Jason Robards triggers a cascade of familial betrayal, murder, and false confessions in the American debut of future Casablanca director Michael Curtiz. Already a veteran of some sixty films in Europe, Hungarian émigré Curtiz (née Mihály Kertész) arrived in Hollywood in 1926 and immediately set about establishing himself as the most dogged and versatile filmmaker on the Warner Bros. lot. His first assignment was hardly promising: a 1908 stage melodrama pivoting on the novelty of police brutality that had already been filmed twice before. Shifting the play’s main action to a circus and finding the slightest pretext for an endless parade of elaborate camera movements and wild superimpositions, Curtiz and cameraman Hal Mohr made a film that earned favorable comparison to recent German imports like Variety. “I do not see a scene with my eyes,” claimed Curtiz, “I see a scene with camera-eyes.” (KW)
85 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Boomerang” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 17 min

Posted in News | Comments Off

From the Bottom Up: Mostly About Subtitles

Aparajito SubtitlesAside from Pulitzer-winning source material or a dose of Merchant-Ivory patina, subtitles are often judged the surest indication of a movie’s pedigree. Dialogue that would provoke guffaws and catcalls in its native tongue, the truism goes, reads profound and poetic in subtitled subterfuge.

The snobbism cuts both ways, of course. “It’s already possible to determine whether someone is middlebrow or upperbrow,” Hollis Alpert advised his Saturday Review readers in 1959, “depending on whether the word Bergman suggests Ingmar or Ingrid.” Snarkier still was Mike Rubin’s contention in the Village Voice in 2001 that “the Osama bin Laden videotape was, for most American viewers, probably their first experience watching something with subtitles.” (Grant Rubin the courage of his hilarious convictions, at least; he went on to compare the aesthetic strategies of the terror tape to recent work of Jacques Rivette and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.) Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

“Yo nunca beber … vino” – Classic Spanish Version of Dracula This Wednesday at the Portage in 35mm

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 13 @ 7:30pm
DRÁCULA 
Directed by George Melford • 1931
During late evenings in the winter of 1930, presumably while Bela Lugosi and Tod Browning were tearing up Hollywood and Vine or fast asleep, something strange and sexy was happening on the Universal Backlot: Spanish-illiterate George Melford, a translator, and a Spanish-speaking cast were filming a version of Dracula with lower cut dresses and more rats. During the early days of sound, the practice of shooting multiple-language versions of the same film for foreign export was fairly common, using the same sets and production schedule, the process could be streamlined quite easily. Sadly, the Spanish-language Dracula is one of the few of these films that survive (Laurel & Hardy’s La Vida Nocturna & Politiquerias are among others); if the rest of them are half as good as this, then we’ve lost a significant chunk of cinema history, not just curiosities. Carlos Villarías plays Drácula, though it should be noted that  Lugosi couldn’t speak very good English either. (JA)
In Spanish with English subtitles
101 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Serial: Captain Marvel: “Human Targets” (John English & William Witney, 1941) – 35mm – 17 min

Posted in News | Comments Off