Silent Cinema at the Music Box

Sun, Oct 14th, 2018
Sat, Nov 17th, 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, Jul 21st
The Lighthouse Keepers

11:30AM
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Sat, Aug 11th
The Blue Bird

11:30AM
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Sat, Sep 8th
City Girl

11:30AM
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Sun, Oct 14th
Sappho

5:00PM
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The Blue Bird

A FILM BY: Maurice Tourneur
WRITTEN BY: Maurice Maeterlinck (play), Charles Maigne (adapted for the screen by)
STARRING: Tula Belle, Robin Macdougall, Edwin E. Reed

Co-presented with Chicago Film Society | Featuring a Live Musical Score performed by Music Box House Organist Dennis Scott.

Nobel laureate Maurice Maeterlinck's 1908 play The Bluebird had already charmed audiences in Moscow, London, and New York by the time this magical adaptation reached the screen. The simple fairy tale of Mytyl and Tytyl, children who journey through enchanted lands in search of the Bluebird of Happiness, provided the ideal material for Maurice Tourneur, the French émigré who brought a wispy Pictorialist sensibility to the wilds of New Jersey. This delicate dream of a film excels in realizing the stranger aspects of Maeterlinck's play with wide-eyed, guileless gusto: the spirits and fairies, the living souls of everyday objects like bread and milk, the Cathedral of Happiness, and more.

35mm print courtesy of the George Eastman Museum

Technical Information

Production Year: 1918
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 80 mins
Format: 35mm

City Girl

A FILM BY: F.W. Murnau
WRITTEN BY: Elliott Lester (play), Berthold Viertel (adaptation)
STARRING: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence

Live accompaniment by Music Box organist Dennis Scott

Initially conceived as poetic paean to the production chain of bread, F.W. Murnau reconfigured his decidedly experimental concept into a endearingly simple love story between Minnesota country boy Lem (Charles Farrell), come to the big city to sell his family's wheat crop, and Chicago waitress Kate (Mary Duncan), yearning for an end to the loneliness of urban life. Lem weds Kate and brings her home to the farm, where Lem's family doesn't look kindly upon Kate's city girl ways. Filming his city scenes on extravagant studio sets and his farm scenes on location in the wilds of Oregon, Murnau imbues both with a rapturous sense of discovery, collapsing simple urban-rural dichotomies and inventing the career of Terrence Malick in the process.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1930
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 88 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

Sappho

A FILM BY: Dimitri Buchowetzki
WRITTEN BY: Dimitri Buchowetzki, Alexandre Dumas (story)
STARRING: Pola Negri, Johannes Riemann, Alfred Abel

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

Fresh from the worldwide success of Ernst Lubitsch's Madame DuBarry, Polish actress Pola Negri signed a Hollywood contract with great fanfare. In March 1923, a month before the release of Negri's first American film, Goldwyn Studios dusted off a German Negri film from two years earlier, retitled it Mad Love, and cannily exploited the public's mounting Negri-mania. Described by the New York Tribune as "the greatest non-stop vamping record ever filmed," Sappho follows Negri as the titular temptress who drives one lover to the insane asylum (Alfred Abel), proceeds to seduce his brother (Johannes Riemann), beguiles an automobile magnate (Albert Steinrück), and more. A mad whirl of betrayal and revenge follows.

35mm print courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archives

Technical Information

Production Year: 1921
Country of Origin: Germany
Run Time: 81 mins
Format: 35mm

Street Angel

A FILM BY: Frank Borzage
WRITTEN BY: Monckton Hoffe (play), Philip Klein (adaptation)
STARRING: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston

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

Frank Borzage reaches a resplendent apex in Street Angel, in which Neapolitan urchin Angela (Janet Gaynor) turns amateur streetwalker after her mother falls ill. Fleeing the police, she joins a gypsy circus and meets romantic painter Gino (Charles Farrell). When the authorities finally catch up with the lovers, Gino's portrait of Angela becomes a transcendent conduit for two souls blooming in adversity's shadow. A follow-up to the smash 7th Heaven, with a heavy helping of Expressionist visual finesse cribbed from F.W. Murnau, Street Angel was a tremendous popular success in its own right.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1928
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 102 mins
Format: 35mm

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604