Silent Cinema at the Music Box

Sat, Mar 16th, 2019

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, Jan 5th
From Morn to Midnight

11:30AM
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Sat, Feb 9th
The Adventures of Prince Achmed

11:30AM
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The Adventures of Prince Achmed

A FILM BY: Lotte Reiniger

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott | Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

Teenage scissor prodigy and self-described “primitive caveman artist” Lotte Reiniger began working in the film industry as a designer of animated title cards in 1916 and soon found herself mixing with a coterie of bohemian cartoonists. Reiniger’s big break came in 1923, as hyperinflation sent the value of the Deutschmark plummeting; one of her patrons, Berlin banker Louis Hagen, converted his liquid assets to the relatively “safe” currency of raw motion picture stock and built a small studio for Reiniger over the garage of his Potsdam vegetable garden. After three years, Reiniger emerged with THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED, a literally hand-made tapestry of silhouette animation that may as well have sprung from a magic lamp.

A free adaptation of several stories from the ARABIAN NIGHTS, this mythical journey from Bagdad to Wak-Wak, with plenty of witches, sorcerers, and flying horses along the way, conjures more wonderful sights from card stock and tissue paper than most modern blockbusters can scare up with the budget and computing power of a small nation-state.

PRINCE ACHMED is now recognized as the earliest surviving animated feature film, but that’s perhaps the least astounding thing about it. The craftsmanship of PRINCE ACHMED remains singular and undiminished, with its intricately designed puppets, its freely undulating backdrops, its otherworldly special effects, and its unstoppable narrative ascent to the clouds.

The original negative of PRINCE ACHMED was destroyed in World War II, but luckily a tinted nitrate print was safely ensconced at the British Film Institute; this copy served as the basis for the film’s 1999 restoration, which yielded an irreplaceable print produced with historically authentic tinting methods.

Tinted 35mm print courtesy of Milestone Films | Special introduction from members of Manual Cinema

Technical Information

Production Year: 1926
Country of Origin: Germany
Language: English
Run Time: 66 mins
Format: 35mm

Fragment of an Empire

A FILM BY: Fridrikh Ermler
WRITTEN BY: Fridrikh Ermler, Ekaterina Vinogradskaya
STARRING: Emil Gal, Sergey Gerasimov, Yakov Gudkin

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott | Co-presented by The Chicago Film Society

An amnesiac soldier from Petrograd stumbles home from the eastern front after the First World War and finds a new and unrecognizable society awaiting him. His hometown is now Leningrad, and that's the least of it: workers' unions, modernist architecture, and new understandings of sex and marriage roil the landscape. Fragment of an Empire is social history rendered as science fiction—a conceit that allows the film to explain the Soviet Union to itself and the wider world. An exceedingly nuanced work, Fragment of an Empire takes the Russian Revolution and its toll on newly minted comrades seriously, giving equal weight to the excitement and the dislocation, the promise of a new society and the cataclysm of everyday life. Restoration by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and EYE Filmmuseum in partnership with Gosfilmofond of Russia.

35mm from SFSFF Collection, Library of Congress

Technical Information

Production Year: 1929
Country of Origin: Russian Federation
Run Time: 109 mins
Format: 35mm

From Morn to Midnight

A FILM BY: Karl Heinz Martin
WRITTEN BY: Herbert Juttke, Georg Kaiser (play)
STARRING: Ernst Deutsch, Erna Morena, Roma Bahn

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott | Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

A bank clerk becomes beguiled with a mysterious woman and embezzles a large sum from his firm in hopes of sloughing off the oppressive stability of his bourgeois lifestyle. When the woman rejects his entreaties, the clerk descends through the hellhole of modern urban life.  This stark adaptation of Georg Kaiser’s Expressionist play was brought to the screen under the supervision of noted theater director Karl Heinz Martin. If anything, FROM MORN TO MIDNIGHT makes THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI look like a bucolic Sunday afternoon stroll. The stylization of FROM MORN TO MIDNIGHT proved so radical—the sets are angular and monochromatic, the space is non-naturalistic, and even the light is painted on—that the film never received a German release.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan

Technical Information

Production Year: 1920
Country of Origin: Germany
Language: English
Run Time: 69 mins
Format: 35mm

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604