Silent Cinema at the Music Box

Sat, Jul 21st, 2018

Classic silent films the way they were meant to be seen!  Featuring a live musical score on the famous Music Box organ by Dennis Scott, Music Box House Organist. Co-presented by The Chicago Film Society.

PRICING

General Admission Tickets – $11 / Senior Tickets – $9 / Music Box Members – $7

Movies & Showtimes for
Silent Cinema at the Music Box

Sat, Feb 17th
Drifting

11:30AM
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Sat, Mar 10th
Little Orphant Annie

12:00PM
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Sat, Apr 21st
A Million Bid

11:30AM
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Sat, May 5th
Woman of Tokyo

11:30AM
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Sat, Jun 16th
Feel My Pulse

11:30AM
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Drifting

A FILM BY: Tod Browning
WRITTEN BY: Daisy H. Andrews (play), Gardner Bradford (titles)
STARRING: Priscilla Dean, Matt Moore, Wallace Beery

Featuring a live musical score performed by Music Box House Organist Dennis Scott.

DRIFTING, Todd Browning's last film for Universal, is an old-fashioned barnstormer about the drug trade, loose morals, and the redemptive power of love. Based on a 1910 play by John Colton that had enjoyed a successful Broadway revival in 1922, DRIFTING toned down its source material considerably at the request of Browning’s regular star Priscilla Dean, whose “lady of easy virtue” became a run-of-the-mill opium smuggler in China. Dean’s petty criminal finds herself making common cause with her underworld rival Wallace Beery and strives to throw government agent Matt Moore off their trail. An eighteen-year-old Anna May Wong appears as a local opium supplier’s daughter, who develops a crush on Moore. The unsigned New York Times review probably says it best: “a very improbable story, directed with gusty flights of imagination.” 

Print courtesy of George Eastman Museum. Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation. 

Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

Technical Information

Production Year: 1923
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 82 mins
Format: 35mm

Feel My Pulse

A FILM BY: Gregory La Cava
WRITTEN BY: Nicholas T. Barrows, George Marion Jr.
STARRING: Bebe Daniels, Richard Arlen, William Powell

Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

With live film score by Dennis Scott on the Music Box organ

Bebe Daniels began her acting career at the age of seven; by fourteen, she was a frequent co-star of Harold Lloyd and by the end of the silent era, Daniels had become a star and accomplished comedienne in her own right. This rollicking comedy that offers Daniels a wonderful showcase for knockabout antics and subtler character work. Hypochondriac heiress Daniels to an island sanitarium where everything is not as it seems. The doctor (William Powell) is really a bootlegger in disguise and all the attendants, save for undercover reporter Richard Arlen, are lieutenants in his rum-running army. You'll never look at surgical equipment the same way again.

Preservation Print courtesy of the Library of Congress

Technical Information

Production Year: 1928
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 63 mins
Format: 35mm

The Lighthouse Keepers

A FILM BY: Jean Grémillon
WRITTEN BY: Pierre Antier (play), P. Cloquemin (play)
STARRING: Paul Fromet, Geymond Vital, Genica Athanasiou

Co-presented by Chicago Film Society | In French with English subtitles

Initially trained as a documentary filmmaker before dabbling in the avant-garde, Jean Grémillon transitioned to narrative features at the very end of the silent era. His second, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS, was shot in a studio, but retains the flavor of Grémillon’s native Brittany. A father tends a remote lighthouse with his son, who longs to be reunited with his fiancée. Unbeknownst to the father, the son was recently bitten by a rabid dog and finds himself slowly going insane and turning violent. Adapted by Jacques Feyder from a one-act play, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS is notable for its expressionistic distortions and masterful editing, continually finding new ways to represent abnormal psychological realms. 

Print courtesy of National Film Archive of Japan 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1929
Country of Origin: France
Language: French
Run Time: 73 mins
Format: 35mm

Little Orphant Annie

A FILM BY: Colin Campbell
WRITTEN BY: James Whitcomb Riley (story), Gilson Willets (scenario)
STARRING: Colleen Moore, Tom Santschi, Harry Lonsdale

Featuring a live musical score performed by Music Box House Organist Dennis Scott

One of the final features produced by Chicago’s own Selig Polyscope before the company’s bankruptcy, LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE is a film steeped in deprivation: by day children fight over dinners rescued from garbage cans and by night they cower under the covers, menaced by grotesque puppet monsters. Into the breach steps Little Orphant Annie (Colleen Moore, in her earliest extant performance), an eternal optimist and skilled storyteller whose fireside parables teach the other ragamuffins that “the Gobble-uns’ll git you Ef you Don’t Watch Out!” Adapted from the 1885 poem by Indiana’s favorite son James Whitcomb Riley that would later inspire the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, the film version is a work of dark whimsy and homespun special effects. LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE has been painstakingly reconstructed by independent archivist Eric Grayson using materials from the Library of Congress and assorted film collectors.

Introduced by Eric Grayson | Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

Technical Information

Production Year: 1918
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 58 mins

A Million Bid

A FILM BY: Michael Curtiz
WRITTEN BY: Robert Dillon, Mrs. Sidney Drew (play)
STARRING: Dolores Costello, Warner Oland, Malcolm McGregor

Shortly after acquiring the ailing Vitagraph studio, Warner Bros. set about remaking their 1914 melodrama A Million Bid for contract starlet Dolores Costello. Warners assigned the film to Hungarian émigré Curtiz, who needed a low-key follow-up to his ostentatious American debut The Third Degree. Costello loves a young surgeon, but is betrothed to a wealthy jerk (Warner Oland) who ponied up a million bucks for the privilege. Oland eventually forces himself upon Costello aboard his yacht, but a violent storm interrupts his plunder, causing the rapacious millionaire to develop amnesia in the aftermath. High seas hokum of the highest order!

Print courtesy of the Library of Congress | (Photo credit: Museum of Modern Art / Film Stills Archive)

Technical Information

Production Year: 1927
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 65 mins
Format: 35mm

Woman of Tokyo

A FILM BY: Yasujirô Ozu
WRITTEN BY: Tadao Ikeda, Kôgo Noda
STARRING: Yoshiko Okada, Ureo Egawa, Kinuyo Tanaka

Presented by The Chicago Film Society and The Chicago Critics Film Festival

Although the Japanese film industry converted to sound a few years prior, silent cinema continued to present opportunities for experimentation and refinement for Ozu. Two pairs of adult siblings attempt to eke out a living in Tokyo: a university student shares an apartment with the sister who pays for his education through office work while his girlfriend lives with her policeman brother. When the cop learns that the typist may be supplementing her income with disreputable side gigs, he inadvertently ruins one life and another in turn. This staunchly feminist tragedy envisions gender roles as pernicious traps for men and women alike.

Plus: A Straightforward Boy [Surviving Fragment] (Yasujiro Ozu, 1929, 14 min, 35mm)

Technical Information

Production Year: 1933
Country of Origin: Japan
Run Time: 47 mins

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604