Music Box Theatre 90th Anniversary!

Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019 to Thu, Aug 29th, 2019
Celebrating 90 years of Music Box Theatre this August!

The Music Box Theatre first opened its doors to Chicago on August 22nd, 1929

To commemorate our 90th Anniversary, we've put together a weeklong celebration of special screenings. Highlighting some of the unique and eclectic programing you can find on any given day, we hope this small selection gives you an idea why the Music Box has been called "Chicago's Year-Round Film Festival".


Thursday, August 22nd - Cinema in 1929

INNOCENTS OF PARIS - 7pm

Friday, August 23rd - Made in Chicago

THE FUGITIVE with Director Andrew Davis in person - 7pm

Saturday, August 24th - Silent Cinema & The Music Box Organ + Dolly Parton 9 to 5er

WORLD CITY IN ITS TEENS: A REPORT ON CHICAGO with Live Musical Accompaniment by Dennis Scott, Music Box House Organist - 2:30pm

DOLLY PARTON 9 to 5er - 9pm to 5am

Sunday, August 25th - Family Fun & Celebrating Indie Horror

MARY POPPINS SING-A-LONG - 12pm

SOCIETY with Director Brian Yuzna in person - 7pm

Tuesday, August 27th - Music Box Films Double Feature

IDA - 7pm

THE DEEP BLUE SEA - 8:45pm

Wednesday, August 28th - Audience Choice Double Feature

THE TERMINATOR - 7PM

ROBOCOP - 9:15PM

Thursday, August 29th - Celebrating 70MM

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II - 7PM 

Back to the Future Part II

A FILM BY: Robert Zemeckis
WRITTEN BY: Robert Zemeckis (characters), Bob Gale (characters)
STARRING: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Rare 70MM Film Print

The Music Box keeps it “reel”, as one of the only movie theatres in America that is still capable of screening movies on 70MM film. 70MM film offers images of unequaled clarity, with as much as four times the resolution of 35MM and digital projection. The whites are brighter, the blacks are deeper, the light is more intense, and colors are richer than anything possible with digital projection. 

Even though 70MM prints are extremely rare nowadays, the Music Box has been fortunate to screen dozens of films (and thousands of feet of celluloid) at our 70MM FILM FESTIVAL. To close out our 90th Anniversary festivities, Marty and Doc Brown take you to the far-off year of 2015 in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, playing in 70MM for the first time at the Music Box! And make sure you put some money on the Cubbies.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1989
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 108 mins
Format: 70mm

The Deep Blue Sea

A FILM BY: Terence Davies
WRITTEN BY: Terence Rattigan (play), Terence Davies (adaptation)
STARRING: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Ann Mitchell

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | A Music Box Films Release

Freely adapted from Terence Rattigan’s landmark play, Terence Davies brings his own distinctive stamp to this heart-breaking story of life in post-War London. Rachel Weisz plays Hester Collyer, the wife of an upper-class judge and a free spirit trapped in a passionless marriage. Her encounter with Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), a troubled former Royal Air Force pilot, throws her life in turmoil, as their erotic relationship leaves her emotionally stranded and physically isolated. 


About Music Box Films: 

Growing organically out of the Music Box Theatre’s world-class programming, our sister company Music Box Films began distributing international films in 2007. With over a hundred theatrical releases over the last decade, including such notable films as TELL NO ONE, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, A MAN CALLED OVE, TRANSIT, and the upcoming BY THE GRACE OF GOD, Music Box Films has carved out a unique niche as a source of memorable and thought-provoking cinema. We celebrate its success with 35mm revivals of two of our favorite Music Box Films releases. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 2011
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Run Time: 98 mins
Format: 35mm

Dolly Parton 9 to 5er

STARRING: Dolly Parton

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary

Tease up your hair and put on your boots, it's time for the Dolly Parton 9 to 5er Marathon!
 
We'll be showcasing four of her greatest cinematic performances, hosted by your good time gals Gaudy God and Uncle Aunt (from Music Box Bingo!). We'll kick off with the feminist classic, 9 TO 5, followed by the salaciously delicious musical THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, then roll right into the wondrous spectacle of Sly Stallone & Dolly heating up the screen in RHINESTONE, then finishing the festivities with Dolly's magnificent turn as a Chicago radio host, in STRAIGHT TALK.

Featuring SING-A-LONGS, a BURT & DOLLY COSTUME CONTEST, DOLLY BINGO, SPECIALTY COCKTAILS and much much more! So come on down now, ya hear?

Technical Information

Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 480 mins

The Fugitive

A FILM BY: Andrew Davis
WRITTEN BY: Jeb Stuart (screenplay), David Twohy (screenplay)
STARRING: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Director Andrew Davis in person for a post-film Q&A

Born just two blocks away from the Music Box, Chicago-native Andrew Davis returned to the Windy City to film his 1993 thriller, THE FUGITIVE. Harrison Ford is Dr. Richard Kimble, a man on the run from the law and on the trail of the conspiracy that framed him for the murder of his wife. A hit with critics and audiences alike, THE FUGITIVE was one of the biggest films of 1993, and received multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and winning one for Tommy Lee Jones' iconic performance as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard. THE FUGITIVE is an intelligent, tense, character driven action film, taking you through Chicago's back alleys, across its bridges, on its trains, and in the middle of its St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Over the years, the Music Box has hosted hundreds of special guests, giving our audiences the opportunity to share experiences with filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, singers, comedians, authors, activists, and political figures, among others. We're pleased to welcome director Andrew Davis to the Music Box, to screen one of the all-time great Chicago films.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1993
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 130 mins
Format: DCP

Ida

A FILM BY: Pawel Pawlikowski
WRITTEN BY: Pawel Pawlikowski (screenplay), Rebecca Lenkiewicz (screenplay)
STARRING: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | A Music Box Films Release

When 18-year-old noviate Anna learns her true identity as a Polish Jew named Ida from her aunt Wanda, the revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism. This beautifully constructed black-and-white tone poem won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015.

***In Polish with English subtitles***


About Music Box Films:

Growing organically out of the Music Box Theatre’s world-class programming, our sister company Music Box Films began distributing international films in 2007. With over a hundred theatrical releases over the last decade, including such notable films as TELL NO ONE, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, A MAN CALLED OVE, TRANSIT, and the upcoming BY THE GRACE OF GOD, Music Box Films has carved out a unique niche as a source of memorable and thought-provoking cinema. We celebrate its success with 35mm revivals of two of our favorite Music Box Films releases. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 2013
Country of Origin: Poland
Language: Polish
Run Time: 80 mins
Format: 35mm

Innocents of Paris

A FILM BY: Richard Wallace
WRITTEN BY: C.E. Andrews (play), Ethel Doherty
STARRING: Maurice Chevalier, Sylvia Beecher, Russell Simpson

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary

When the Music Box Theatre opened in 1929, it was the city’s first dedicated talkie house. For audiences, talking pictures represented not just a new way of seeing movies, but a new idea of what a movie could be, with an expanded horizon of stars and subjects never exploited on the silent screen. Broadway and vaudeville talent could enunciate before the camera and international performers could command American audiences from sea to shining sea. Maurice Chevalier, a performer whose magnetism practically justified the talkies all by itself, made his American debut in 1929 with INNOCENTS OF PARIS. Chevaliar plays a singing junkman whose ascent to a fancy music hall threatens his romance with Louise (Sylvia Beecher). As Paramount’s exhibitor pitch put it, “They’ll HEAR him sing ‘Louise’—especially written for Chevalier and already a popular song hit. And four other big hit song numbers. They’ll HEAR him make love and talk—in English. They’ll SEE him dance.” 

In honor of our opening on August 22, 1929, we’ll screen INNOCENTS OF PARIS, along with a program of selected short subjects that encompass the full range of sights and sounds theater-goers enjoyed ninety years ago. 

35mm print courtesy of Universal


About INNOCENTS OF PARIS

Maurice Chevalier made four Paramount features in 1929 and 1930 that played in Chicago– “Innocents of Paris,” “The Love Parade,” “Playboy of Paris” and “The Big Pond.” Although the first “all talkie, all-singie” by the French songbird and hoofer screened in Chicago at the Belpark, Berwyn, Central Park, Crystal, Paradise, Tivoli, United Artists and Uptown theaters the summer of 1929, "Innocents of Paris” never reached the Music Box then. Nor did Chevalier’s next three U.S. features.

Paramount vice-president Jesse Lasky went to Paris in the fall of 1928 to sign the song-and-dance headliner at the Casino de Paris for $3,000 a week. The New York City press welcome overwhelmed Chevalier: “I felt I had been captured in the midst of a combat assault.”

After seeing the finished film– “Innocents of Paris” was made in English, French and silent versions– Lasky said: “His voice has as much `IT’ as Clara Bow’s personality.” “`Eet?’ asked the Frenchman. `What is ziz `EET?’” inquired the crooner of "I Want to Be Keesed,” according to a Brooklyn newspaper. "`Innocents of Paris’ is a one man show and Monsieur Maurice Chevalier is IT,” concluded Mae Tinée in her Chicago Tribune review. When Chevalier passed through the city on his first trip to Hollywood, the newspaper ran a photograph of him visiting its 25th floor observatory.

After the premiere actor Adolphe Menjou, cast in earlier films by the same director of “Innocents of Paris,” counseled Chevalier: “I won’t kid you, Maurice, the picture’s not the greatest. But you are going to be the greatest French success America will ever see!” Time Magazine noted at the time: “He had been built into a cinema celebrity with the most expensive and intense advertising campaign ever invested in a foreign actor.” Chevalier would get Best Actor nominations for his third and fourth Hollywood films.

“I am now sneaking into the talkies– hoping Mencken and my other highbrow friends will not see me,” admitted New York theater critic Benjamin De Casseres, an unapologetic Chevalier fan: “Il a le It!”

A band struck up “La Marseillaise” at Gare St. Lazare for Chevalier’s homecoming. “With the French national anthem blaring in my ears, as if I were a war hero approaching the Arc de Triomphe,” he enthused: "L'Amerique, c'est swell! Nouveau York, c'est swell! L'Hollywood, c'est la plus swell!”

– Bill Stamets

Technical Information

Production Year: 1929
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 78 mins
Format: 35mm

Mary Poppins Sing-A-Long

A FILM BY: Robert Stevenson
WRITTEN BY: Bill Walsh (screenplay), Don DaGradi (screenplay)
STARRING: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary

One of the most beloved programs at the Music Box, our interactive screenings let the audience joins in on the movie magic! Over the years, we’ve had packed houses playing along with presentations of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, GREASE, LABYRINTH, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, HOCUS POCUS, and our annual Thanksgiving shows of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. 

For our 90th Anniversary, you’re invited to a movie that’s practically perfect in every way, with our MARY POPPINS SING-A-LONG. Put on your best cockney accent for the classic Disney musical, complete with onscreen lyrics. It’s guaranteed to bring out the kid in you!


About Music Box Sing-A-Longs
 
Long before sing-alongs circa 1983 Chicagoans enjoyed “community singing” wherein an organist led audiences reading lyrics on slides projected on the screen. The Music Box, however, was not among the 53 Chicago theaters that included this custom with their shows, according to a survey of trade journals (1925-1933) by music historian Esther Morgan-Ellis at the University of North Georgia. As early as 1918, Chicago Tribune amusements ads listed “community singing” elsewhere. The last one ran in 1970 when "The Boys in the Band" played at the Lincoln Village.
 
“During the 1920s most urban Americans participated in community singing at least once a week,” writes Morgan-Ellis. “So it is that many seek the moving picture theaters for the sake of being where others are, to overcome the sense of loneliness that is the cause of so much unhappiness in the teeming city,” observed the Christian Science Monitor in 1910. A month after the Music Box opened in August 1929, Tribune cartoonist Gaar Williams, who studied at the Art Institute, pictured a moviegoer in a third row aisle seat. This entry in Williams’ “Our Secret Ambition” series was captioned: “To break out with a swell tenor voice when the audience is requested to sing.”

Technical Information

Production Year: 1964
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 139 mins
Format: DCP

Robocop

A FILM BY: Paul Verhoeven
WRITTEN BY: Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
STARRING: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Playing as a Double Feature with THE TERMINATOR at 7pm

When the Music Box reopened in 1983 under new management, the majority of programming was dedicated to daily Double Features. From 1983-1988, the Music Box offered unique pairings of classic and contemporary (at the time) double bills, ranging from the popular to the obscure, the expected to the surprising, covering all manner of genres and filmmakers.

After combing through our archives, we selected 20 of our favorite Double Features that screened between 1983-1988, and asked our loyal Music Box fans to pick the pair they’d like to see back on the big screen. Thousands cast their votes, with choices including classic and quirky comedies, Oscar-winning dramas, influential indies, revered world cinema, and more.

All the votes were tallied, and a winning duo was crowned. On August 28th, our first ever AUDIENCE CHOICE DOUBLE FEATURE takes you on an action-packed, ‘80s sci-fi adventure, with James Cameron’s gripping, unstoppable THE TERMINATOR and Paul Verhoeven’s slyly satirical allegory ROBOCOP!

Technical Information

Production Year: 1987
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 102 mins
Format: 35mm

Society

A FILM BY: Brian Yuzna
WRITTEN BY: Rick Fry, Woody Keith
STARRING: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Director Brian Yuzna in person for a post-film Q&A

Over the last 90 years, the Music Box Theatre has been a home for independent horrors films, and over time grew to create the craziest celebration of horror imaginable, our annual 24 horror movie marathon: THE MUSIC BOX OF HORRORS.

To celebrate our love of indie horror, and to give the fans of our marathon one of their most requested titles, we are presenting SOCIETY with director Brian Yuzna in person, and screening his personal 35mm print! Brian Yuzna’s body-horror filled critique of upper crust society is as appropriate today as it was at the end of the Reagan era.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1989
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 99 mins
Format: 35mm

The Terminator

A FILM BY: James Cameron
WRITTEN BY: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
STARRING: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn

A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Playing as a Double Feature with ROBOCOP at 9:15pm

When the Music Box reopened in 1983 under new management, the majority of programming was dedicated to daily Double Features. From 1983-1988, the Music Box offered unique pairings of classic and contemporary (at the time) double bills, ranging from the popular to the obscure, the expected to the surprising, covering all manner of genres and filmmakers.

After combing through our archives, we selected 20 of our favorite Double Features that screened between 1983-1988, and asked our loyal Music Box fans to pick the pair they’d like to see back on the big screen. Thousands cast their votes, with choices including classic and quirky comedies, Oscar-winning dramas, influential indies, revered world cinema, and more.

All the votes were tallied, and a winning duo was crowned. On August 28th, our first ever AUDIENCE CHOICE DOUBLE FEATURE takes you on an action-packed, ‘80s sci-fi adventure, with James Cameron’s gripping, unstoppable THE TERMINATOR and Paul Verhoeven’s slyly satirical allegory ROBOCOP!

Technical Information

Production Year: 1984
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 107 mins
Format: 35mm

World City in its Teens: A Report on Chicago

A FILM BY: Heinrich Hauser
A Part of The Music Box 90th Anniversary | Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott | Co-presented by the Chicago Film Society
 
Since 2011, the Music Box has offered a monthly silent cinema showcase that presents these treasures the way they were meant to be seen, with rare 35mm and 16mm prints projected at the proper frame rate, with live musical accompaniment. 

The quintessential film genre in the late 1920s and early 1930s may well have been the city symphony—an international idiom that bluntly analogized the frenetic pace of modern urban life with celluloid montage.  One especially neglected example is Heinrich Hauser’s WELTSTADT IN FLEGALJAHREN: EIN BERICHT ÜBER CHICAGO offers almost as many perspectives on the Windy City as its mouthful of a title has inspired variant English translations, among them WORLD CITY IN ITS TEENS, A WORLD CITY STRETCHES ITS WINGS and METROPOLIS AT AN AWKWARD AGE. Hauser, a nomadic German writer and photographer, visited Chicago in 1931 and recorded a wide range of neighborhoods and conditions, fashioning a civic portrait both dazzling and bleak, sterling and sobering. Back home, the Berliner Borsen-Zeitung praised the film for its vision of “America stripped of illusions.” For us, Hauser’s film serves as a reminder of the longevity of Chicago’s tangle of contradictions.  

Print courtesy of EYE Filmmuseum

Technical Information

Production Year: 1931
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 74 mins
Format: 35mm

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604