Category Archives: News

Ann Dvorak Biographer Christina Rice Presents The Strange Love of Molly Louvain – Archival 35mm Print

As you’ve probably heard, the Patio Theater will be shutting down for the foreseeable future due to unsustainable operating costs. The Strange Love of Molly Louvain will be the final screening at the Patio.  If you’ve hesitated about joining us for a show at the Patio or you know folks who’ve waffled on making the trek, this is it!

Is the Northwest Chicago Film Society ending, too? Of course not–we’ll still be presenting occasional screenings and working on special projects like our Corn’s-A-Poppin’ restoration as we strive to secure a new, long-term home. We know that we have the most dedicated audience in Chicagoland–and that’s why we feel we can and must move forward. Please stay on our mailing list and keep a look-out for celluloid news.

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The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Louvain_A

Wednesday, April 23 @ 7:30pm
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1932
Iowa cigarette counter salesgirl Molly Louvain (Ann Dvorak) has everything figured out until her country club boyfriend leaves her penniless and pregnant. Hitting the road with a greasy lowlife (Leslie Fenton), Molly eventually winds up in Chicago, where she gets mixed up with a cop killing. Fawned over by a hayseed hometown suitor (Richard Cromwell) and pursued by transparently cynical newspaperman Scotty “Peanuts” Cornell (Lee Tracy), Molly finds herself in a clinch that even blonde hair dye can’t fix. A rare starring showcase for the wonderful Dvorak, The Strange Love of Molly Louvain is a brisk maternal melodrama and a mettle-testing gauntlet of spontaneous sincerity. Based on a play by Chicago’s Maurine Watkins, this nevertheless rates as one of the most geographically inept depictions of the Second City on film: a key scene occurs at the intersection of Clark and Dearborn, while Hyde Park comes across as Lake Michigan’s version of The Bronx.  (KW)
73 min • First National • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.
Co-sponsored by Park Ridge Classic Film Series
Introduced by Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel

Rice-Dvorak
Christina Rice will also introduce Scarface (1932) at the Pickwick Theatre on Thursday, April 24 at 7:30pm. Full details here.

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Tuning In, Taking Off, Dropping Out:
Forman’s American Odyssey in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Taking Off_Henry
Wednesday, April 2 @ 7:30pm
TAKING OFF
Directed by Milos Forman • 1971
Roger Ebert said it best: “[Milos Forman has] a rich appreciation for the everyday lives of people who do not realize how funny they are.” Few people are as funny, sweet, or immensely human as the middle-aged couple Larry and Lynn Tyne (played by Buck Henry and Lynn Carlin), whose teenage daughter Jeannie (Linnea Heacock) has run away from home to be with the hippie weirdos of 1971 (led in part by Carly Simon). As the couple searches for their daughter, they meet other parents looking for their runaway children and inadvertently rediscover their youth with the help of the Society for Parents of Fugitive Children. At once a vibrant cultural artifact and a gentle social commentary, Forman has kinder things to say about dysfunctional people living in  dysfunctional times than any of his peers, and finds genuine joy even in the bleakest situations. With Paul Benedict, Vincent Schiavelli, and Ike and Tina Turner. (JA)
93 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal

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Louvain_A

Wednesday, April 23 @ 7:30pm
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN
Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1932
Iowa cigarette counter salesgirl Molly Louvain (Ann Dvorak) has everything figured out until her country club boyfriend leaves her penniless and pregnant. Hitting the road with a greasy lowlife (Leslie Fenton), Molly eventually winds up in Chicago, where she gets mixed up with a cop killing. Fawned over by a hayseed hometown suitor (Richard Cromwell) and pursued by transparently cynical newspaperman Scotty “Peanuts” Cornell (Lee Tracy), Molly finds herself in a clinch that even blonde hair dye can’t fix. A rare starring showcase for the wonderful Dvorak, The Strange Love of Molly Louvain is a brisk maternal melodrama and a mettle-testing gauntlet of spontaneous sincerity. Based on a play by Chicago’s Maurine Watkins, this nevertheless rates as one of the most geographically inept depictions of the Second City on film: a key scene occurs at the intersection of Clark and Dearborn, while Hyde Park comes across as Lake Michigan’s version of The Bronx.  (KW)
73 min • First National • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.
Co-sponsored by Park Ridge Classic Film Series
Introduced by Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel

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Home Movie Day – So Special It Now Comes Twice a Year

Wednesday, March 26 @ 7pm – Comfort Station Logan Square, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave.

LSHMDLOGAN SQUARE HOME MOVIE DAY – Free Admission
Go down to the basement and dig out your Super 8 memories of that interminable trip to Idaho or that embarrassing 16mm footage of your mother’s rockin’ bat mitzvah and bring them to the Comfort Station on Wednesday, March 26 for a Logan Square edition of Home Movie Day. Jointly presented by NWCFS, Chicago Film Archives, Logan Square International Film Series, and The Post Family, Home Movie Day offers Chicagoans the opportunity to gather together and share their celluloid histories. Home movies provide invaluable records of our families and our communities: they document vanished storefronts, questionable fashions, adorable pets, long-departed loved ones, and neighborhoods-in-transition. Many Chicagoans still possess these old reels, passed down from generation to generation, but lack the projection equipment to view them properly and safely. That’s where Home Movie Day comes in: you bring the films, and we inspect them, project them, and offer tips on storage, preservation, and video transfer–all free of charge. And best of all, you get to watch them with an enthusiastic audience, equally hungry for local history. Plus: CFA presents rare films from the JoAnn Elam, the best filmmaker and letter-carrier that Logan Square ever had!

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And join us the week after that for a very special, far out presentation:

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Taking Off_AWednesday, April 2 @ 7:30pm
TAKING OFF
Directed by Milos Forman • 1971
Roger Ebert said it best: “[Milos Forman has] a rich appreciation for the everyday lives of people who do not realize how funny they are.” Few people are as funny, sweet, or immensely human as the middle-aged couple Larry and Lynn Tyne (played by Buck Henry and Lynn Carlin), whose teenage daughter Jeannie (Linnea Heacock) has run away from home to be with the hippie weirdos of 1971 (led in part by Carly Simon). As the couple searches for their daughter, they meet other parents looking for their runaway children and inadvertently rediscover their youth with the help of the Society for Parents of Fugitive Children. At once a vibrant cultural artifact and a gentle social commentary, Forman has kinder things to say about dysfunctional people living in  dysfunctional times than any of his peers, and finds genuine joy even in the bleakest situations. With Paul Benedict, Vincent Schiavelli, and Ike and Tina Turner. (JA)
93 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal

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Crime Without Passion or Cinema Without Sense?
Hecht & MacArthur’s Woozy Whatsit in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Crime Without Passion HSWednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
CRIME WITHOUT PASSION
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

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Nothing Can Keep a Good Film Society Down! Back at the Patio on Feb. 26 with Kiss the Blood Off My Hands in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Kiss the Blood AWednesday, February 26 @ 7:30pm
KISS THE BLOOD OFF MY HANDS
Directed by Norman Foster • 1948
A film that requires no tagline, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is the first feature made by Burt Lancaster and Harold Hecht’s Harold Hecht-Norma Productions, and a trendsetter for independent “tough guy who just needs some understanding” film noirs. After killing a man in a sloshy bar fight, former POW Bill Saunders (Lancaster) takes shelter in the arms of a kindhearted nurse (Joan Fontaine), who gets him a job delivering medical supplies. Lancaster’s past catches up with him soon enough, and a witness to his killing blackmails him into doing a robbery and throwing his new love away. Set in an eerie backlot approximation of London, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is a violent, menacing emotional trainwreck held together by one of Joan Fontaine’s best performances. (JA)
79 min • Harold Hecht-Norma Productions • 35mm from Universal

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And join us in March for another rare 35mm screening of a title that you won’t find on DVD…

Crime Without Passion A
Wednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
CRIME WITHOUT PASSION
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

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On Hiatus – Please Check Back Soon for Our New Calendar

rp40

The Northwest Chicago Film Society will be on hiatus for the month of January. We will be returning to the Portage Park neighborhood and announcing a new schedule very soon.

Please sign up for our mailing list and be the first on your block to hear about our latest programs.

In the interim, please patronize Chicagoland’s other wonderful 35mm and 16mm venues. Keep up with the latest film-on-film screenings with Celluloid Chicago.

And don’t forget about our Tumblr projects:

Projectionists Draw Projectors
China Girls / Leader Ladies

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Got the Christmas Blues? Let Allen Baron’s
Blast of Silence Dampen Your Holiday Spirit

Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 N. State Street
For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

18B BLAST
Sunday, December 29 @ 7:30pm
BLAST OF SILENCE
Directed by Allen Baron • 1961
“You were born in pain.” A proto-punk film noir shot without permits on a scuzzball budget, Blast of Silence is practically a one-man show for director-writer-actor Allen Baron. The former comic book artist-turned-independent filmmaker stars as a square Cleveland hit man called away to New York City to fulfill a contract on a minor mobster. Floating through Manhattan during the loneliest time of the year—the week between Christmas and New Year’s—Baron takes a tentative stab at rekindling his romance with an old flame (Molly McCarthy) and falls in with burly weapons dealer Big Ralph (Larry Tucker). Narrated by an uncredited Lionel Stander in a singularly abrasive style (“the second person accusative,” in Dave Kehr’s concise formulation), Blast of Silence stands as an unaccountable debut. Remarkably, this hate-flecked calling card was picked up as a B-feature by Universal and yielded a four-decade career in TV-directing for Baron. If you think the holidays go down easier with a bottle of scotch, this is your kind of movie. (KW)
77 min • Magla Productions • 35mm from Universal

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Spend Christmas with the Kockenlockers! Sturges’s
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek – Archival 35mm Print

Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 N. State Street
For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

17B MIRACLESunday, December 22 @ 7:30pm
THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK
Directed by Preston Sturges • 1944
After spending a drunken, sin-soaked night sending off six soldiers, Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) wakes up pregnant and married, but she can’t remember how or to whom. Eddie Bracken is the local 4-H boy who has been in love with Hutton for as long as he can remember and jumps at the opportunity to take responsibility for the incident and indirectly sire an heir. The Hays Office warned that a film with such a spindly moral backbone should have no resemblance to the story of Jesus Christ (they also only approved ten pages of the script), but The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is an obvious and even touching play on the immaculate conception, and finds Sturges, who Manny Farber called “the most spectacular manipulator of sheer humor since Mark Twain,” at his most out-of-control. With William Demarest, Brian Donlevy, and Akim Tamiroff. (JA)
98 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Paramount

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But wait … there’s one more

18A BLAST
Sunday, December 29 @ 7:30pm
BLAST OF SILENCE
Directed by Allen Baron • 1961
“You were born in pain.” A proto-punk film noir shot without permits on a scuzzball budget, Blast of Silence is practically a one-man show for director-writer-actor Allen Baron. The former comic book artist-turned-independent filmmaker stars as a square Cleveland hit man called away to New York City to fulfill a contract on a minor mobster. Floating through Manhattan during the loneliest time of the year—the week between Christmas and New Year’s—Baron takes a tentative stab at rekindling his romance with an old flame (Molly McCarthy) and falls in with burly weapons dealer Big Ralph (Larry Tucker). Narrated by an uncredited Lionel Stander in a singularly abrasive style (“the second person accusative,” in Dave Kehr’s concise formulation), Blast of Silence stands as an unaccountable debut. Remarkably, this hate-flecked calling card was picked up as a B-feature by Universal and yielded a four-decade career in TV-directing for Baron. If you think the holidays go down easier with a bottle of scotch, this is your kind of movie. (KW)
77 min • Magla Productions • 35mm from Universal

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16B COLOSSUSGene Siskel Film Center – 164 N. State Street
For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

Sunday, December 15 @ 7:30pm
COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT
Directed by Joseph Sargent • 1970
A visionary sci-fi yarn that unfolds entirely in dingy government offices and labs with floor-to-ceiling mainframes, Colossus: The Forbin Project asks, “Why elect a president when we can have a computer-king instead?” Forbin (Eric Braeden) has designed an intelligent supercomputer to remove that sissy human factor from nuclear brinkmanship and gets the Pentagon to go along with it.  But soon after Colossus is juiced up, it finds a crazy-smart penpal in its hitherto-unknown Soviet counterpart. Together the two computers will charter a more perfect world with a few strategic missiles. Just don’t try disconnecting them. TV veterans Braeden and Sargent apply their nondescript craftsmanship to a project so taut and economical it might as well be called Playhouse 90 Meets IBM. (Small screen credentials and pan-and-scan DVDs aside, Forbin is a formidable widescreen production.) Shelved by the studio for two years until the far-out success of 2001: A Space Odyssey confirmed hippie appetite for evil computers, this remains a serious and literate stab at sci-fi. (KW)
100 min  • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal

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Christmas is just around the corner, which means it’s time for another off-beat Yuletide choice from the Northwest Chicago Film Society.

17A MIRACLE
Sunday, December 22 @ 7:30pm
THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK
Directed by Preston Sturges • 1944
After spending a drunken, sin-soaked night sending off six soldiers, Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) wakes up pregnant and married, but she can’t remember how or to whom. Eddie Bracken is the local 4-H boy who has been in love with Hutton for as long as he can remember and jumps at the opportunity to take responsibility for the incident and indirectly sire an heir. The Hays Office warned that a film with such a spindly moral backbone should have no resemblance to the story of Jesus Christ (they also only approved ten pages of the script), but The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is an obvious and even touching play on the immaculate conception, and finds Sturges, who Manny Farber called “the most spectacular manipulator of sheer humor since Mark Twain,” at his most out-of-control. With William Demarest, Brian Donlevy, and Akim Tamiroff. (JA)
98 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Paramount

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Ninotchka – Don’t Pronounce It, See It!
New 35mm Print on Sunday Night at the Siskel

Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 N. State Street
For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

15B NINOTCHKASunday, December 8 @ 7:30pm
NINOTCHKA
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1939
Ninotchka, a no-nonsense Soviet envoy (Greta Garbo), is sent to check on three adorable Communists (Lubitsch regulars Sig Ruman and Felix Bressart and WWII refugee Alexander Granach) who were supposed to be selling off jewels confiscated from the ex-Grand Duchess of Russia (Ina Claire). To Garbo’s disgust, they have been taken in by the delightful ways of Parisian capitalism by way of Melvyn Douglas, who attempts to buy back the jewels for Claire but eventually becomes more interested in seducing Ninotchka. In many ways the ultimate Lubitsch picture, Otis Ferguson also noted that Ninotchka was the “first film with any airiness at all to discover that communists are people and may be treated as such in a story.” Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch wrote a screenplay filled with incredibly human one-liners. And Garbo in her first comic role is nothing less than perfect. (JA)
110 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Warner Brothers

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If Ninotchka doesn’t fill your appetite for Communists, commissars, and Soviet slyness, come back next week for a very special Cold War treat…

16 A COLOSSUSSunday, December 15 @ 7:30pm
COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT
Directed by Joseph Sargent • 1970
A visionary sci-fi yarn that unfolds entirely in dingy government offices and labs with floor-to-ceiling mainframes, Colossus: The Forbin Project asks, “Why elect a president when we can have a computer-king instead?” Forbin (Eric Braeden) has designed an intelligent supercomputer to remove that sissy human factor from nuclear brinkmanship and gets the Pentagon to go along with it.  But soon after Colossus is juiced up, it finds a crazy-smart penpal in its hitherto-unknown Soviet counterpart. Together the two computers will charter a more perfect world with a few strategic missiles. Just don’t try disconnecting them. TV veterans Braeden and Sargent apply their nondescript craftsmanship to a project so taut and economical it might as well be called Playhouse 90 Meets IBM. (Small screen credentials and pan-and-scan DVDs aside, Forbin is a formidable widescreen production.) Shelved by the studio for two years until the far-out success of 2001: A Space Odyssey confirmed hippie appetite for evil computers, this remains a serious and literate stab at sci-fi. (KW)
100 min  • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal

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