CHICAGO: Monte Carlo ('30 silent version) 12/11

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Eric Cohen

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CHICAGO: Monte Carlo ('30 silent version) 12/11

PostThu Nov 16, 2017 12:30 pm

Monday, December 11 @ 7:30 PM $5
Northeastern Illinois University, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Bldg. E, Chicago IL 60625
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1930
Live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren
Crack open any film history textbook and you’ll likely find an extended description of a sequence in Monte Carlo: runaway bride Jeanette MacDonald reclines in a train car and belts out “Beyond the Blue Horizon” with the clang of the engine and the whir of the wheels providing the syncopation. When placed beside the mumbly milestones of the very earliest talkies like The Jazz Singer and The Lights of New York, this simple production number in Monte Carlo looked like a quantum leap and pointed the way towards the creative application of sound technology. And yet this musical chestnut was also distributed mute in the waning days of the silent era, offered to theaters that had not yet been wired for sound. The plot—penniless countess MacDonald flees her wedding for Monte Carlo, where she hopes to gamble her way to financial stability but winds up instead with a count (Jack Buchanan) whom she mistakes for a hairdresser—follows the sound version, but clocks in twenty minutes shorter without all the songs. Discovered among reels of nitrate at the Paramount Pictures lot, the silent version of Monte Carlo was one of dozens of films donated to the American Film Institute in 1968 through the efforts of the late archivist David Shepard. (KW)
71 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Universal
Short: Fractured Flickers: “Pilot Episode” (Jay Ward Productions, 1961) – 16mm – 24 min

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