Second Saturday Silent Cinema
14 January 2012 - Saturday 31 May 2014
A tribute to silent film that only the Music Box can offer! Named by Chicago Magazine as the Best New Film Series of 2011. Now presented on the second Saturday of every month at noon!
As part of the Music Box’s commitment to screening classic films, we are delighted to announce what we hope to be an annual series of silent films. Thanks to a number of improvements during the past year, we believe there’s no better place in Chicago to see silent film! We want to share that experience with you throughout 2013 with a special monthly silent film series. Our excellent house organist Dennis Scott will be accompanying all films.
Saturday, September 14th
- 12:00pm: Straight Shooting
Saturday, October 12th
- 12:00pm: The General
Saturday, November 9th
- 12:00pm: The Lost World
Saturday, December 14th
- 12:00pm: The Freshman
Saturday, January 11th
- 12:00pm: Changing Husbands
Saturday, February 8th
- 12:00pm: Underworld
- Tickets $10 each, $8 for students and seniors
Sat 14 Sep, 12:00pm
Straight Shooting (1917)
directed by John Ford starring Harry Carey, Duke R. Lee, George Berrell in English
Ford’s first feature follows Cheyenne (Harry Carey), a freelance outlaw hired to intervene in a dispute between a scheming rancher and a farmer. Both a tragic murder and growing affection for the farmer’s daughter leads Harry to a moral reckoning regarding his gun-for-hire ethos.
Similar to Ford’s later Westerns, Straight Shooting never veers into action for the sake of action. It is leisurely and steadily paced, accented by pauses and reflections, yet Ford knows when to heighten the tension, especially in the film’s exciting climax. Archival print courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Sat 12 Oct, 12:00pm
The General (1926)
directed by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender in English
Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton’s The General is one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed comedies, silent or not. Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marian Mack), young Johnnie Gray (Keaton) sets out to single-handedly win the war with the help of his cherished locomotive.
What follows is the most cleverly choreographed comedy ever recorded on celluloid. Johnnie wages war against hijackers, an errant cannon, and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails – exploiting the comic potential of Keaton’s favorite film prop: the train. Insisting on accuracy in every detail, Keaton created a remarkably authentic historical epic, replete with hundreds of costumed extras, full-scale sets, and the breathtaking plunge of an actual locomotive from a burning bridge into a river.
Sat 9 Nov, 12:00pm
The Lost World (1925)
directed by Harry O. Hoyt starring Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lloyd Hughes
Based on the 1912 novel of the same name by Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (who makes an onscreen appearance!), this innovative and groundbreaking 1925 silent film featured amazing stop-motion animation from Willis O’Brien, years prior to his work on King Kong.
A group of explorers led by Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) travel to the Amazonian jungle searching for a legendary secluded plateau where dinosaurs have managed to survive unmolested for millions of years. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton, the group does indeed find the pre-historic creatures! They even manage to bring one alive back to London, which, if we’re being honest, was probably not the best idea… Restored print courtesy of the George Eastman House.
Sat 14 Dec, 11:30am
The Freshman (1925)
directed by Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor starring Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict in English
A nerdy college student will do anything to become popular on campus.
Sat 11 Jan, 11:30am
Changing Husbands (1924)
directed by Paul Iribe & Frank Urson starring Leatrice Joy, Raymond Griffith Silent
The lovely Leatrice Joy plays two lookalike dames: one gal’s an aspiring actress, and the other’s a Broadway star sick of the spotlight. So what do they do? Like a jazz-age Prince & the Pauper, they trade lives, and husbands for that matter — but their scheme doesn’t go quite according to plan! This movie’s a real breath of fresh comedy air, alternating between beats of razor-sharp wit and screwball antics. Its subject matter is also quite racy for the Roaring Twenties, and it revels in the mischief, culminating in an implied double divorce in Reno! Film print courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Sat 8 Feb, 11:30am
directed by Josef von Sternberg starring George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent Silent
Josef von Sternberg’s riveting breakthrough is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre as we know it. George Bancroft plays heavy Bull Weed, a criminal kingpin whose jealous devotion to his moll, Feathers (Evelyn Brent), gets him into hot water with a rival hood and, ultimately, the authorities. With its supple, endlessly expressive camera work and tightly wound screenplay based on a story by legendary scribe Ben Hecht (who won an Oscar for it the first year the awards were given), Underworld solidified von Sternberg’s place as one of Hollywood’s most exciting new talents. This February marks the 120th birthday of Chicago-forged writer Ben Hecht – come celebrate with his first screenplay!