Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again

Rod Amateau's "Drive-In"

Rod Amateau’s “Drive-In”

Chicago Film Society
unveils lineup
for Season 24,
“dedicated to
exhibiting neglected
works of cinema in
their original medium”

The streets of Chicago are clogged with scooters in a cutthroat competition for marketshare, behemoth commercial landlord The We Company (nee WeWork) has positioned itself as a tech company in anticipation of its IPO, and Disney is strip-mining the 20th Century Fox library for rebootable IP for its streaming service. Disruption is afoot everywhere, and the roiling disaster of modern capitalism touches all things, even Chicago Film Society.

What if instead of announcing a new season of strange and wonderful films, we declared that we were launching a curated streaming service–one that offered a new title about once a week, but in a theater and on 35mm and/or 16mm? Or what if we re-branded as a cryptocurrency organization — one that allowed you to exchange your loser fiat scrip for a freely-traded commodity known as Ghost Catchers, backed by blockchain? We’ll work out the details at Burning Man next week.

Whatever you want to call us, Chicago Film Society is dedicated to exhibiting neglected works of cinema in their original medium. For the next four months, we’ve got some choice ones: tributes to unsung auteurs like A. Edward Sutherland, Edward F. Cline, Erle C. Kenton, Bud Pollard, and Charles Stone III; an archival print of Over the Edge introduced by screenwriter Tim Hunter; new restorations from the Academy Film Archive (Queen of Diamonds) and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (The Signal Tower); and the rarest of all Robert Altman features, the made-for-TV Jazz ’34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing.

See you at the movies — and also, none of this cashless bullshit. We’ll take cards, but we’ll also accept any legal tender of these United States.

For the full schedule, see below. To learn more about the Chicago Film Society, click on this.



Wednesday, September 4 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by William Wyler • 1933 • 35mm from Universal
Manic celebrity attorney John Barrymore of the law office of Simon & Tedesco faces disbarment for a mistake made early in his career while his marriage falls apart. A devastating and sympathetic portrayal of a workaholic about to lose everything, with one of Barrymore’s greatest performances. Simultaneously gut-wrenching and exuberant, preceded by a restored Zazu Pitts and Thelma Todd short!

Wednesday, September 11 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Bud Pollard • 1948 • 35mm from Library of Congress
R&B legend Louis Jordan’s low-budget dude ranch jubilee is one of the unadulterated joys of musical cinema. Hang up the six-gun and dance! Co-presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Saturday, September 14 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Sam Taylor • 1926 • 35mm from Harold Lloyd Entertainment
One of Harold Lloyd’s most underrated features, For Heaven’s Sake brings together a man with a mansion and a miss with a mission to divine results. Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott.

Wednesday, September 18 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Rod Amateau • 1976 • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
This made-in-Texas, wannabe American Graffiti curio was released 35 years before CFS began, but whatever, clearly it was produced expressly for us. Roller rinks, drive-in movies, teenagers, drive-in projectionists, cars, drive-in dreams. Screening indoors in a mint print straight from the studio vault.

Wednesday, September 25 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Robert Bresson • 1977 • 35mm from The Film Desk
If we just projected movies for ourselves in dingy church basements, we might be a lot like these post-’68 anarchists. A work of cosmic empathy for the young folks by septuagenarian master Robert Bresson, championed as the most punk movie ever by no less than Richard Hell.

Monday, September 30 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Steve De Jarnatt • 1988 • 35mm from Park Circus
This DayGlo cult classic, the last film of the Cold War canon, might aptly be called Apocalypse Right Now. Featuring Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, and a fabulously characteristic score from Tangerine Dream.

Wednesday, October 2 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Phil Karlson • 1960 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collection
A unique perspective on World War II, with Jeffrey Hunter as a kid adopted by Japanese-American foster parents. Hunter must fight over there while his family is sent to a concentration camp in sunny California.

Wednesday, October 9 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Nina Menkes • 1991 • 35mm from Academy Film Archive, permission Arbelos
A new restoration of the independent feminist classic, which takes a rigorously European approach to life in that most American of landscapes, the Las Vegas casino. Not available on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming.

Saturday, October 19 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM / Chicago History Museum / Free Admission
When we were kids, we squirmed if we had to watch ten minutes of home movies. As adults, four hours of ’em ain’t enough. Bring more! More information about this yearly, world-wide celebration of home movies at

Tuesday, October 22 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Robert Altman • 1997 • 35mm from UCLA Film & Television Archives
This major–and majorly neglected–work by CFS favorite Altman is a feature-length expansion of an American Masters episode that recreates the iconic sounds and sights of Kansas City’s hottest clubs of the 1930s. Not available on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming. Co-presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Saturday, October 26 @ 11:00 AM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Erle C. Kenton • 1928 • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
A high-quality silent circus melodrama that remained neglected for almost 75 years after talkies took over. Not available on DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming. Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott.

Wednesday, October 30 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Edward F. Cline • 1944 • 35mm from Universal
A terrifying comedy from Hellzapoppin’ duo Olsen & Johnson. Not available on DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming.

Monday, November 4 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan • 1979 • 35mm from the Academy Film Archive, permission Warner Bros.
The other great 1979 movie about burning down your school, with a motley crew of suburban Colorado teens (including 14-year-old Matt Dillon!) who see the Reagan Revolution coming from a mile away. Screenwriter Tim Hunter in Person!

Saturday, November 9 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Clarence Brown • 1924 • 35mm from SFSFF Collection, Library of Congress
A new restoration of a backwoods railroad rivalry from underrated stylist Clarence Brown. When we started programming this silent showcase, we didn’t think every other movie would star Wallace Beery, but here we are–step aside, Valentino and Gilbert. Not available on DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming. Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

Wednesday, November 20 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by Sidney Lumet • 1983 • 35mm from Paramount
The sins of the father are visited upon the son in Lumet’s great adaptation of E. L. Doctorow’s Rosenberg roman à clef, a longhair Citizen Kane that bridges the New Left and the Old. With Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Asner, and the extraordinary Amanda Plummer. Presented in conjunction with HotHouse as part of “On Whose Shoulders?,” a series dedicated to re-examining the legacy of the Communist Party USA.

Saturday, November 23 @ 7:00 & 9:00 PM / filmfront/ Free Admission
Directed by Tery Zwigoff • 1985 • 16mm from Terry Zwigoff
If he had never made Crumb or Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff would deserve a place in the history books for this hilarious and moving docuportrait of Chicago jazz legend Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong. Come for the music, stay for the off-color remarks about Windy City architectural landmarks. Co-presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Wednesday, November 27 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland • 1936 • 35mm from Universal
The W.C. Fields one where we he plays a put-upon conman with a beautiful daughter (Rochelle Hudson). Fields had already played Eustace McGargle on the stage in 1923 and a previous film version in 1926, but can anyone legitimately say they don’t need more McGargle in their life?

Monday, December 2 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Charles Stone III • 2002 • 35mm from Fox Library Services
If you only see one Cinemascope movie about drum corp this holiday season, make it this modern classic, with an early turn from Zoe Saldana. “Who knew marching bands could be so sexy?” – TV Guide

Monday, December 9 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre
Directed by Herbert Brenon • 1924 • 35mm from Kino Lorber
The silent version of Peter Pan, with Betty Bronson as the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, is simultaneously barely a movie at all (its fidelity to the stage version is fierce) and one of the greatest movies of the silent era. Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

Saturday, December 14 @ 7:00 PM / Chicago Filmmakers
16mm from UCLA Film & Television Archive
A program of jazz-adjacent shorts from the LA Rebellion, the pioneering group of African American filmmakers who arose out of UCLA Film School in the 1970s and ’80s. Includes Charles Burnett’s When It Rains (1995). Co-presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Chicago Film Society makes rare and classic films available to local audiences in their original forms–on 35mm and 16mm motion picture film. Our screenings spotlight the restoration efforts of archives, studios, and private collectors, as well as the experience of seeing films projected in a theater with an audience. Through an array of program notes, extended blog entries, and introductory remarks before each screening, the Chicago Film Society endeavors to bring new notions of the cultural and material history of cinema to the public. The Chicago Film Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It was established by Julian Antos, Becca Hall, and Kyle Westphal in 2011.

Founded in 1867, Northeastern has a rich tradition of educational innovation and prides itself on preparing teachers and administrators who make a difference in Chicago. That tradition continues to this day and has expanded to include an array of academic disciplines, allowing the University to embrace fully the community in which it resides. Northeastern is regarded as the most diverse public comprehensive university in the Midwest and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Diversity is an important factor in the character of Northeastern and in the social fabric of its student body. The University has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students; African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students represent nearly 60 percent of the student body. Located on 67 acres in an attractive residential area on the Northwest Side of Chicago, the University offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, education, and business.

For the last two decades, the Music Box Theatre has been the premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States.

Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. Chicago Filmmakers’ twofold mission is to serve independent film and digital video artists by supporting the creation and dissemination of new media arts works and to serve Chicago audiences by screening artistically innovative, socially relevant, and diverse films and videos.

Filmfront is a cine-club located in chicago’s pilsen neighborhood. selected programs draw from overlapping spheres of global, classic, documentary, experimental and local cinema. situated at the core of a diverse community, our storefront venue invites a cross-cultural dialogue in the form of discussions, panels, lectures, and exhibitions in addition to our regular screenings.

Send your screening updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,