Chicago’s famed Music Box Theatre, located near Wrigley Field in the Lakeview neighborhood, is nearly as old as its nearby ballpark neighbor. The historic venue opened its curtains on August 22, 1929 as the city’s first dedicated “talkie house.” The Southport Avenue gem is celebrating its 90th birthday this week with a special slate of outstanding programming that highlights both the rich history of film and the charm of the theater. Saying there’s something for everyone, from the casual fan to devout cinephile, would be an understatement. Follow the embedded links in this article for information and tickets.
On Thursday, August 22nd, festivities began with a screening of 1929’s Richard Wallace film Innocents of Paris, starring Maurice Chevalier, Sylvia Beecher, and Russell Simpson. On the next night, the Music Box hosts a special screening of Chicago-set Oscar winner The Fugitive. Director Andrew Davis will be in attendance for post-film Q&A. Now that’s a stellar get.
The weekend Saturday schedules features something soft followed by something raucous. First there is World City in its Teens: A Report on Chicago, a silent film showcase backed by house organist Dennis Scott. The boisterous noise that follows comes from a special four-film Dolly Parton “9 to 5er” mini-marathon complete with trivia and special cocktails. Hosts “Gaudy God” and “Uncle Aunt” take audiences through 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, and the Chicago special Straight Talk. Just as the event title suggests, it starts at 9:00pm and rolls until 5:00am.
Sunday has pair of events, one for young eyes and one for the mature crowd. A midday Mary Poppins Sing-a-Long precedes the indie horror flick Society hosted by director Brian Yuzna. After a night off, Tuesday is all about the drama and two 35mm features, Pawel Pawlikowski’s masterful Ida and Terrence Davies 2011 heart-breaker The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz and a pre-Avengers Tom Hiddleston.
The final two days of the birthday parade hit up the crowd favorites. The clanging and banging of beefy science-fiction metal arrives on August 28th harking back to the theater’s history of daily double features during the 1980s. Hosting the highly anticipated audience duo in the form of The Terminator at 7:00pm followed by Robocop at 9:15pm. The slate closes on Thursday, August 29th with a grand 70mm print of Back to the Future Part II. The Zemeckis sequel glowing on the large format will be playing for the first-time at the Music Box. A schedule like this fits any time and place, all made better by this special place. See you folks this week!
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