Sunday, December 16, 2018

Screening of "Penny Serenade" December 17 at Daystar Center

Penny Serenade (1941)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: December 17, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Penny Serenade (1941) stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as a couple on the brink of divorce after a tragic event in their lives. While preparing to leave her husband, Julie Adams (Dunne) listens to some old records that take her back to the early days of her relationship with her husband Roger (Grant). Balancing laughter with tragedy, director George Stevens (A Place in the Sun, Giant, Shane) strikes all the right notes with this sentimental classic. The excellent supporting cast includes Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan. Grant earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a truly moving performance.

P.S. Bring tissues!


General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

“American Street Kid” debuts in Chicago December 11

In American Street Kid, filmmaker Michael Leoni takes you on a journey into a world that most people don’t know exists. A world where in order to survive, kids are forced to sell drugs, beg for money or sell their bodies. Their powerful stories are heartbreaking and their unrelenting hope and determination to create a better life shines through, in this true tale of love, friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit.



For more information, visit www.americanstreetkid.com.


Monday, December 10, 2018

ArcLight Cinemas Shares The Holiday Spirit With New ArcLight Presents… Let It Snow


Curated series brings feel-good, romantic and classic holiday film favorites to the big screen as the season kicks into full swing! 

CHICAGO (November 15, 2018) – ArcLight Cinemas – Chicago, the premier moviegoing destination in Lincoln Park (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.) announces a special, seasonal film series featuring six nights of holiday movies. From nostalgic to romantic – hilarious to action-packed, ArcLight Cinemas has carefully curated a selection of timeless stories for film lovers to enjoy this season. ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow begins on Monday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Monday, December 17. The schedule of the beloved films includes special screenings of A Christmas Story, Love Actually, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Home Alone, Tokyo Godfathers, and Die Hard.

“When curating films for the ArcLight Presents… Let It Snow series, we looked at movies for everyone; movies that transcend individual traditions and holidays, connecting people together to share the joy of the season,” said Kevin Holloway, VP of Film Marketing and Operations, ArcLight Cinemas. “Everybody has their own tradition and their own favorite holiday movies, and we hope to evoke special memories of the season through these film selections.”

ArcLight Cinemas, the premier moviegoing experience with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content, offers more than just a place to watch a movie. With a focus on undistracted viewing and state of the art sight and sound technology, guests experience classic movies the way they were meant to be seen.

The upcoming ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow schedule is:


Home Alone

Monday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.

An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his home from burglars when he is accidentally left home alone during Christmas vacation. Directed by Chris Columbus, the 1990 family-favorite, Home Alone, stars Macaulay Culkin Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.

Tokyo Godfathers

Tuesday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m.

A trio of homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo set out to find the parents of a newborn baby they found among the trash on Christmas Eve. The 2003 animated Japanese film, Tokyo Godfathers, was co-directed by Satoshi Kon and Shôgo Furuya and features the voices of Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, and Aya Okamoto.

Die Hard

Monday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.

An NYPD officer, John McClane, tries to save his wife Holly Genaro and others after a German terrorist takes them hostage during a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia. This untraditional 1988 Christmas movie celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Tickets for the ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow series are $12.50 (adults). ArcLight Members can use their two free ArcLight Presents… tickets for this series. Not a member? Sign up at arclightcinemas.com/membership. For more information and to reserve your seats now, please visit https://www.arclightcinemas.com/en/movies/arclight-presents.

About ArcLight Cinemas:

ArcLight Cinemas, a privately owned, Los Angeles based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii, and Washington is a premier moviegoing experience with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content to moviegoers in all markets. ArcLight Cinemas operates seven theaters in California including Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo, Santa Monica, Culver City and La Jolla, as well as theaters in Bethesda, MD, Chicago and Glenview, IL, with a new location in Boston for 2019. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA. Additional information about ArcLight Cinemas is available at www.arclightcinemas.com.

Connect with ArcLight:

Facebook: facebook.com/ArclightCinemas #ArcLightChicago
Twitter: twitter.com/ArcLightCinemas #ArcLightChicago
Instagram: instagram.com/arclightcinemas #ArcLightChicago

Editor’s note: Received information on this series late, so I’ve just printed the dates and times for films that have yet to be screened.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Classic Movie Man’s Favorite Christmas Movies: 2018 Edition

Another Christmas season is upon us and I’ve put together some more Christmas movies for your enjoyment. Not every choice can be considered a Christmas movie, but each feature the holiday prominently. One of the choices takes place almost entirely at a Christmas office party. I hope you enjoy these films and have a wonderful holiday season.

Lon McCallister, Charlotte Greenwood and Walter Brennan celebrate Christmas in
Home in Indiana

Home in Indiana—1944 is set in the world of harness racing. It also featured the official film debuts of popular female 20th Century-Fox stars: Jeanne Crain and June Haver. Crain plays Charlotte “Char” Bruce, the tomboy daughter of horse trainer Jed Bruce (Ward Bond). Haver plays Christopher “Cri-Cri” Boole, spoiled daughter of track owner Goodall Boole (Charles Dingle). Char is a sweet and good-natured tomboy. Cri-Cri is a self-centered flirt who although friends with Char, looks down on her because she isn’t rich. The plot heats up a bit when J. F. “Thunder” (Walter Brennan) and Penny Bolt’s (Charlotte Greenwood) nephew “Sparke” Thornton (Lon McCallister) comes to live with them. Char is attracted to Sparke, but he considers her one of the boys. Cri-Cri has a steady boyfriend, but flirts shamelessly with Sparke, leading him to suspect she likes him. A key scene take place during Christmas when Sparke visits Cri-Cri presenting her with a present. Cri-Cri pretends to like Sparke’s gift. When she’s alone with Char, Cri-Cri reveals what she really thinks. It’s at this point that we know that Char is desperate for Sparke to notice her and in the end he does.

Backstory: The film played in theaters throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky before it went into wide release. The Academy nominated the movie for its color cinematography. April Love, a musical version of Home in Indiana was made in 1957 starring Pat Boone and Shirley Jones.

John Garfield and Eleanor Parker beside the fallen Christmas tree in
Pride of the Marines

The Pride of the Marines—1945 is based on the true story of Al Schmid, a Marine who was blinded during the battle of Guadalcanal. John Garfield plays Schmid who proposes marriage to Ruth Hartley (Eleanor Parker), his long-time girlfriend before he goes off to war. After he’s blinded and discharged from the Marines, Al’s friend and G.I. buddy Diamond (Dane Clark) tricks him into going home to Philadelphia during the Christmas holidays. Ruth who has never doubted her devotion to Al is desperately trying to convey this to him, but he’s too proud to admit he might have to depend on his friends and family more than he would have if he could see. The Christmas scene gets very dramatic and is a turning point in the film. Al argues with Ruth and quickly gets up to leave, but he crashes into the Christmas tree, knocking it to the ground. The film features great performances from Garfield, Parker, and Clark. Director Delmer Daves and Producer Jerry Wald turned out an entertainment that holds up well as both entertainment and a history of what life was like for disabled veterans of World War II and the families that loved them.

Backstory: John Garfield met Al Schmid during his rehabilitation before a movie was ever planned.

Joan Bennett does some Christmas shopping before things begin to unravel in
The Reckless Moment

The Reckless Moment—1949 is an underrated film noir classic, directed by German-born Max Ophuls. During the Christmas holidays, while her husband is away on business, Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) discovers that her 17-year-old daughter, Bea (Geraldine Brooks) is having an affair with a sleazy criminal, Ted Darby (Shepperd Strudwick). To protect her daughter, Lucia confronts Ted. She orders him to stop seeing Bea, but Ted will only do so if she pays him off. Lucia refuses and tells Bea about her meeting with Ted, which leads to a terrible argument between mother and daughter. Bea and Ted meet and things do not go well. After the meeting, Ted accidentally injures himself, which eventually leads to his death by a jetty near the Harper’s house. When Lucia discovers the body, she thinks Bea is responsible for Ted’s death so she takes the body and hides it in a swamp. The body is discovered by the police which puts more pressure on Lucia to shield her daughter. Another criminal, Martin Donnelly (James Mason) is in possession of the letters that Bea wrote to Ted. If Lucia doesn’t come up with $5000, Martin will pass the letters along to the police, which could lead to Bea being charged with murder. Lucia is half crazed with keeping this situation from her family, while she prepares for Christmas! The irony of these horrible situations taking place during the Christmas holidays cannot be ignored. What should be a happy peaceful time for the Harper family turns into a nightmare for Lucia. Things take a strange twist when Martin begins to fall in love with Lucia, which in an odd way makes things turn out for the best in the end. Are you dying to see this movie now?

Backstory: This was James Mason’s third American film. Joan Bennett was married to the producer, Walter Wanger, from 1940 until 1965. Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, edited by Steven Schneider.

Nancy Kwan, Joyce Blair, Victor Spinetti, and Terry-Thomas during the height of
the office Christmas party in The Wild Affair

The Wild Affair (1965) is a little-known film from the swinging 60s! Almost the entire movie takes place at an office Christmas party—like they don’t have anymore—at fancy a cosmetics company in London. Filmed in 1963, but not released until 1965, the movie fell through the cracks. It stars Nancy Kwan as Marjorie Lee, a young office assistant who is about to be married and is having some doubts about her romantic choices. When she looks in the mirror, she sees her alter ego, Sandra, a sexier version of herself staring back at her. Sandra encourages Marjorie to let herself go and mix it up with as many men as possible before she settles down to a life of ironing and housekeeping. Marjorie’s last day at work just happens to land on the date for the office Christmas party and just the place for our heroine to perhaps have a last fling before the wedding. As the workday begins, Marjorie is romanced by an overseas salesman and just about every male in her office, especially at the party when the alcohol starts flowing. The makeup artist at Marjorie’s company makes her over in what he calls the “vampire look.” When Marjorie looks in the mirror, she sees Sandra, her sexier self. At first she’s startled, but then decides to go with it. Kwan is terrific as Marjorie and she is dressed by designer Mary Quant and given an iconic hairstyle by the soon-to-be famous Vidal Sassoon. Will Marjorie have a fling at the office party or will she remain true to her fiance? The film features great support from a British cast that includes Terry-Thomas as the adulterous head of the cosmetics company.


Backstory: The release of the movie was held up for a year, which pretty much doomed it to obscurity. Had it been released in 1963, it would have been cutting edge, but when released in 1965, its edge had worn off. Vidal Sasson’s short cut on Kwan caused a sensation when she was pictured in the U.K. edition of Vogue.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Screening of “Shadow of a Doubt” at Daystar Center November 10

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: November 10, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was Alfred Hitchcock’s personal favorite of all his films. It is packed with heart-pounding suspense and truly amazing performances. When Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) visits his sister’s family in Santa Rosa, CA, his niece and namesake “Young Charlie” (Teresa Wright) begins to suspect that he may be the “Merry Widow Murderer,” wanted by the authorities. As Young Charlie’s suspicions about her uncle prove to be true, she has a tough decision to make. Will she report her uncle to the detectives that are tailing him or will she let him get away with murder? With a unique mixture of charm and menace, Cotton’s characterization is one of the creepiest in the history of film.

Considered Hitchcock’s first great American film, it features an extraordinary supporting cast that includes, MacDonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Wallace Ford, and Hume Cronyn, in his very first screen role. "Shadow of a Doubt" also has the distinction of being the only film Hitchcock made on location.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Book Review: “Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeyman”

When I was younger they used to show Babes in Toyland (1934)—also known as March of the Wooden Soldiers—on television in New York during the Thanksgiving holiday season. I always looked forward to watching it with my older brother. Henry Brandon (billed as Henry Kleinbach), like Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939), scared me to death as a child. Hamilton had the flying monkeys, Brandon had the boogeymen; the stuff nightmares are made of.

Authors Bill Cassara and Richard S. Greene have compiled a biography of the character actor that highlights his roles on stage and in film, rather than presenting a full-blown record of the details of his birth, family life, schooling, and so on. That doesn’t mean we don’t learn some facts about Brandon’s life apart from his career. We learn that he was educated at Stamford University, was fluent in German, and had a distinguished military record during World War II.

The bulk of the biography details Brandon’s acting careering, highlighting his signature roles: The evil Barnaby in Babes in Toyland and Scar in The Searchers (1955). Brandon’s character acting career was quite prolific, but unlike Walter Brennan, most people didn’t know Brandon by name. Brandon carved out successful career in Hollywood as a character actor without—unlike Brennan—being under contract to a major or minor Hollywood studio. Brandon’s talent for portraying just about any ethnic character pretty much guaranteed his constant employment.

Henry Brandon: King of the Boogeymen is generously illustrated with photographs of the actor in his various film roles, as well as casual photographs of Brandon with his many friends and colleagues.

If you’re interested in classic Hollywood and learning about a talented journeyman character actor, you’ll enjoy this biography.

Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeyman
Trade Paper: 536 pages
BearManor Media (June 23, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781629333359
ISBN-13: 978-1629333359
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Price: $29.95

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