Author Archives: Northwest Chicago Film Society

Cisco Pike Is a Man of the West … West L.A.!
Archival 35mm Print Screens 4/20

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, April 20th @ 7:30 PM
CISCO PIKE
Directed by Bill L. Norton • 1972
Described by director Bill L. Norton as “La Dolce Vita set in L.A.,” Cisco Pike co-opts the episodic structure of Fellini’s ubiquitous classic as an excuse to burrow into the post-’60s West Coast freak scene. Kris Kristofferson, in his first leading role, plays the title character, a washed-out rock star-turned-pot dealer blackmailed into unloading 100 kilos of marijuana in 48 hours by a crooked cop (a hyperventilating Gene Hackman). More concerned with texture than plot, the film takes its time unfolding, all the better to take in its myriad counterculture psychologies. Today, Cisco Pike appears primarily to be a repository of charming, distinctly early ’70s Americana, including, but not limited to: chunky sideburns, casually deployed western wear, and shambling hippie country rock. National treasures Karen Black and Harry Dean Stanton turn in winning supporting performances as, respectively, Kristofferson’s put-upon girlfriend and his burnout sideman. The soundtrack features tunes by Kristofferson and Doug Sahm (who also appears in the film) further capturing the spirit of the times. (CW)
95 min. • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

Preceded by: “Marijuana, Driving, and You” (1980) – 16mm – 12 min

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Archival 35mm Print Screens 4/20

Where Spurs Are A-Jinglin’: Gus Van Sant’s Sleepy
Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 17th @ 7:30 PM
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Directed by Gus Van Sant • 1991
A sleepy, slow-burning adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is one of the finest American independent films of a brief and now-gone era when major studios still saw value in funding the weird, the sublime, and the small budget (or was it just a dream?). Centered around the experiences of a narcoleptic hustler in Portland (River Phoenix), the film borrows its checkerboard structure from William S. Burroughs, tossing and turning through the Pacific Northwest. Keanu Reeves is River’s love interest, another streetwalker who left his family (his father, the Mayor of Portland) but has an inheritance to collect when he turns twenty-one and will “leave this life behind.” Van Sant has developed a reputation for having one foot inside Hollywood (Milk, Good Will Hunting) and one firmly outside of it (Last Days, Elephant), but Idaho—a road movie, an urban western, and a coming-of-age film tied together with the soft and reassuring voice of Eddy Arnold—makes such distinctions irrelevant, bound only by a sense of place and time. (JA)
104 min • Fine Line Features • 35mm from Warner Brothers/Swank

Preceded by: “Junior” (Gus Van Sant, 1992) – 16-to-35mm blowup – 4 min
Print courtesy of the Gus Van Sant Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

 

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Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm

Turn On the Heat! Fox Film Corp’s Musical Triumph Sunnyside Up – Restored 35mm Print from MoMA

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 10th @ 7:30 PM
SUNNYSIDE UP
Directed by David Butler • 1929
After their triumphant turns in 7th Heaven and Street Angel, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell stood as America’s most beloved silent screen couple. They could have made any film they wanted in 1929, and they embarked on a big, brash musical, undaunted by new Movietone recording technology or their own lack of vocal training. The result, Sunnyside Up, boasted a score by Tin Pan Alley veterans DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson (Just Imagine) and proved one of the major films of its era, outgrossing even The Broadway Melody. The story can be solved from a mile away—will Farrell’s stuffy Southampton playboy fall for Gaynor’s Yorkville tenement princess?—but the songs are memorable and the camerawork is exceptionally fluid. Then there’s the singular, Eskimo-themed show-stopper “Turn On the Heat,” a literal barn-burner whose appeal has been aptly described by musical historian Richard Barrios: “There was no restraint, not from sound men telling [director David] Butler and [choreographer Seymour] Felix what wouldn’t work, nor from censors, innate finer feelings, or the studio fire marshal.” (KW)
121 min • Fox Film Corp. • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, Permission Criterion
Preceded by: Short TBA

 

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Get Magnascoped: Rare Naval Epic Old Ironsides in 35mm, with Live Organ Accompaniment from Jay Warren

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 3rd @ 7:30 PM
OLD IRONSIDES
Directed by James Cruze • 1926
A premiere example of early epic action cinema, Old Ironsides plops Charles Farrell, Esther Ralston, and the crew of the merchant vessel Esther into the Battle of Tripoli Harbor alongside the titular ship, the USS Constitution. When Ralston is kidnapped by pirates in the Mediterranean, Farrell, with the assistance of legendary bruisers Wallace Beery and George Bancroft, takes it as his patriotic duty to rescue her and aid the US Navy’s efforts in stamping out piracy. The 1926 premiere of Old Ironsides was also the debut of the newly developed Magnascope widescreen process which involved opening the screen’s masking and switching lenses to magnify the film’s image during key scenes. While the popular narrative of film history positions widescreen projection as an enticement to viewers who had ditched the movies for television, Magnascope was one of many widescreen processes developed in the silent era and remained in common use through the 1940s. Used exclusively, in this instance, during the film’s battle sequences, the shift to a larger image gives Old Ironsides’s already remarkable action set-pieces an extra jolt, providing an experience that is the essence of cinematic spectacle. (CW)
111 min. • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from the Library of Congress
Preceded by: “The Pillar of Fire” (George Méliès, 1899) – 35mm – 1 min

Presented in Magnascope, with live organ accompaniment from Jay Warren.

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Moontide – Jean Gabin’s Franco-American Beachside Noir Screens in a Pristine 35mm Print from the Studio Vault

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, January 27th @ 7:30 PM
MOONTIDE
Directed by Archie Mayo • 1942
Long admired for setting art house hearts aflutter with his sweaty magnetism in French imports like Grand Illusion and Pépé le moko, Jean Gabin abruptly found himself in Hollywood in the wake of the Nazi occupation. His American debut, Moontide, was a cockeyed passion project adapted by novelist John O’Hara from a lascivious book that Gabin selected himself. Gabin stars as Bobo, the San Pablo dock worker with a funny name and a decidedly unfunny demeanor. After saving prostitute Anna (Ida Lupino) from suicide, the big lug tries his damnedest to turn his rented bait barge into a rickety paragon of domestic bliss—but how long can he sustain the charade when his jilted buddy Tiny (Thomas Mitchell) holds a deadly secret? After Gabin clashed with the project’s original director, Fritz Lang, Moontide was handed over to underrated journeyman Mayo, who managed to sustain the movie’s delicately ethereal tone.  The resulting movie plays like an improbably romantic, proudly homegrown answer to the landmarks of French poetic realism (Le jour se lève, Le quai des brumes).  (KW)
94 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Fox Library Services

Preceded by: Tom & Jerry in “Cruise Cat” (Joseph Barbera & William Hanna, 1952) – 35mm – 7 min

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Apocalypse Now: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Staggering Final Film
The Sacrifice Screens in a New 35mm Print – Jan. 20

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, January 20th @ 7:30 PM
THE SACRIFICE
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky • 1986
As bomber jets overhead signal the start of World War III, a man makes a deal with God for his own life in exchange for an end to the war. The final film by Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Mirror) is without compromise. Punishingly long, devastatingly beautiful, and ultimately humbling, The Sacrifice was completed as the director was dying of cancer and struggling through years of crippling bureaucracy as an expatriate of the Soviet Union. Shot by frequent Ingmar Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist, The Sacrifice winds through long, complex tracking shots and uses analog optical printing to find eerie spaces in between color and black and white. Unapologetically spiritual before Terrence Malick made it hip (for a moment), The Sacrifice earned unusual praise from Dave Kehr in the Chicago Tribune: “Nothing could be less fashionable than The Sacrifice… To conceive a movie as a prayer — this is a tremendous gesture at a time when movies are becoming smaller and smaller, more and more trivial. It’s hardly a gesture designed to attract a large public, but it remains a gesture of incredible courage.” (JA)
In Swedish with English subtitles
142 min • Svenska Filminstitutet • New 35mm from Kino Lorber

Preceded by: “Doom Town” (Gerald Schnitzer, 1953) – 35mm – 15 min

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The Sacrifice Screens in a New 35mm Print – Jan. 20

New Season Begins Jan 13: Hathaway’s Peter Ibbetson
A Triumph of Surrealist Thought – Archival 35mm Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

01 Ibbetson_600Wednesday, January 13th @ 7:30 PM
PETER IBBETSON
Directed by Henry Hathaway • 1935
When soul-scarred architect Peter Ibbetson (Gary Cooper) accepts a commission from the Duke of Towers (John Halliday), he doesn’t anticipate a major complication: the Duchess (Ann Harding) is Peter’s childhood sweetheart. A flesh-and-blood reminder of Gallic idylls gone by, the Duchess stirs memories and fantasies to last a lifetime. After Ibbetson finds himself imprisoned for accidentally killing the husband, their forbidden love crackles on in dreams—and along the astral plane. The story was already an established phantasmal classic by 1935: George du Maurier’s 1891 novel had served as the basis for an unsinkable stage melodrama, instantly familiar to small town audiences everywhere. Its cause was also taken up by André Breton, who exalted Hathaway’s film version as an (unconscious?) “triumph of Surrealist thought.” Above all, it’s a supernatural vision realized with a disarming sobriety; largely bereft of special effects and fantastic sets, Peter Ibbetson achieves the transcendent through the disciplined force of studio craft, with Charles Lang’s cinematography and Hans Dreier’s art direction contributing mightily to the atmosphere of l’amour fou. (KW)
88 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from UCLA Film & Television Archive, Permission Universal

Preceded by: “High Steel” (Don Owen, 1966) – 35mm – 14 min

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A Triumph of Surrealist Thought – Archival 35mm Print

New Season is Just Around the Corner

Season 13

Our new season of 35mm revivals at Northeastern Illinois University is up!

Spend 2016 with: Gary Cooper, Ann Harding, Ida Lupino, Jean Gabin, Thomas Mitchell, Wallace Beery, Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, Kris Kristofferson, Karen Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Will Rogers, Lou Reed, and Arthur Kennedy, and friends!

Archival prints from MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, Sony Pictures Repertory, Academy Film Archive, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and 20th Century Fox!

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Spend the Holidays with Your Newest Friend: Tashlin’s Uproarious Susan Slept Here in 35mm IB Technicolor

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Tuesday, December 22 @ 7:00 PM
SUSAN SLEPT HERE
Directed by Frank Tashlin • 1954
In the only movie narrated by an Oscar statuette, we meet screenwriter Mark Christopher (Dick Powell) on Christmas Eve, when his dinner plans are spoiled by the arrival of two cops at his door with Susan (Debbie Reynolds), a feisty seventeen-year-old girl who was picked up for hitting a man over the head with a beer bottle. The cops claim they brought her to Mr. Christopher to give him a script idea and give the girl a chance to stay out of jail on Christmas, but it’s really a meet cute for the screwball romance between Susan and Mr. Christopher that drives the film. This premise seems gauged to infuriate Hays Code censors: the film never lets the viewer forget that this is a story of love between a minor and a man eighteen years her senior. Made early in Tashlin’s career, Susan Slept Here relies more on verbal jokes than the kind of visual gag work that characterizes many of his later movies, but it does include an extended dream sequence in which several principal characters don glittery outfits and perform some cracked dance numbers more reminiscent of The Great Gabbo and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome than Singin’ in the Rain. (JR)
98 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm IB Technicolor from private collections

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Best of the West: Edward G. Robinson in Howard Hawks’s Tiger Shark – New 35mm Library of Congress Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, December 9 @ 7:00 PM
TIGER SHARK
Directed by Howard Hawks • 1932
Edward G. Robinson may play a tuna fisherman (the best in the Pacific Ocean, he reminds us nine or ten times), but the only thing he manages to nibble around here is the scenery. Robinson’s Mike Mascarenas is a singular force in San Diego’s Portuguese immigrant community, strutting around like a manicured, semi-literate Captain Hook with a gypsy earring, or perhaps a burlesque Ahab. A hard-headed man’s man who values loyalty above all, Mascarenas enters uncharted waters as a clandestine romance brews between his wife (Zita Johann) and his best friend (Richard Arlen). Celebrated today for its viscerally unsafe fishing sequences and its quintessentially Hawksian maleness, Tiger Shark was initially embraced by its studio as a peerless template for exploring the terror of working class life; Warner Bros. unofficially repurposed the storyline twice within the next decade, translating the love triangle to the world of circus wranglers (Bengal Tiger) and electrical linemen (Manpower). (KW)
77 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from the Library of Congress

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