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Music Box 70mm Film Festival

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Music Box 70mm Film Festival

Old 02-15-13, 08:01 PM
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Music Box 70mm Film Festival

An iconic Chicago movie theatre is bringing a rare format to the masses in a first-ever film fest of its kind.

Friday, the Music Box Theatre kicks off it's two-week-long tribute to the format, celebrating the now-rare beauty of 70mm films.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports, in all, the movie house will screen nine classic films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “West Side Story.”

With studios making the switch to digital — and cinemas following suit — a modern film shot in the large format is a rarity these days. Until "The Master" last year, the last film to be shot on the wide-gage, high resolution format was 1996's "Hamlet." Picture quality — sharp, crisp, vivid color that's steady and without the distortion that can occur with 35mm — is the draw with 70mm.

The Music Box notes that few people, particularly those born in recent decades, have actually had the chance to see a film in 70mm:

"Due to the costs of 70mm film few films were ever shot in this large format, and following their initial release many of them were also released in 35mm to facilitate wide release. Other films were shot in 35mm and “blown up” to 70mm to facilitate more sound information. When DTS sound and Dolby Surround were introduced to cinemas, 70mm (and auditoriums devoted to 70mm) all but disappeared."

Last fall, however, a screening of the Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-nominated "The Master" changed all that. Anderson shot the film in 70mm, but few cinemas actually had the necessary tools to screen it that way.

Time Out Chicago film critic Ben Kenigsberg wrote a blog post urging the director to bring the film to the Music Box; the call led to Anderson's camp offering a sneak-preview screening to the Music Box. The result was a sellout screening last August.

According to WBEZ, the Music Box purchased its 70mm projector a decade ago and is the lone movie house in Chicago to operate one.

Doug McLaren, the Music Box’s chief projectionist, told the Sun-Times the festival is the theatre's way of capitalizing on the demand kicked up from "The Master" screening; naturally, the film will be a staple of the festival, with screenings Feb. 22, 23 and 25.

McLaren said he hopes the festival will become an annual event, and the theatre is putting all its chips on the round of upcoming screenings; TOC reports the projectors have been completely rebuilt, outfitted with new gears and bearings.


Here is the schedule:

Friday, February 15th
6:30pm: Vertigo
9:00pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Saturday, February 16th
2:00pm: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
5:30pm: Lord Jim
9:00pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Sunday, February 17th
2:00pm: Vertigo
5:00pm: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
8:00pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Monday, February 18th
7:30pm: Lord Jim
Tuesday, February 19th
7:30pm: Vertigo
Wednesday, February 20th
7:30pm: Lifeforce
Thursday, February 21st
7:30pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Friday, February 22nd
6:30pm: Playtime
9:00pm: The Master
Saturday, February 23rd
2:00pm: West Side Story
5:30pm: Playtime
8:30pm: The Master
Sunday, February 24th
2:00pm: Hamlet
6:45pm: West Side Story
9:40pm: Lifeforce
Monday, February 25th
7:30pm: The Master
Tuesday, February 26th
7:30pm: Hamlet
Wednesday, February 27th
7:30pm: West Side Story
Thursday, February 28th
7:30pm: Playtime
Tickets for all film screenings will be $9.25.
The Music Box Will also offer 70 very special 70mm passes for $70 that will give the holder admission to every screening of every film in the series (Yes, that means pass-holders can see a film more than once at no additional charge).


Hoping to see 2001 and Vertigo
Old 02-15-13, 08:57 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

I saw a 70mm print of 'Lifeforce' last year and lordy... the 6-track was REALLY loud (not in a bad way) but the insane ending felt like the auditorium ceiling was going to implode. The print didn't look that hot - since it's a 35mm blowup, but the audio made up for it.

Last edited by Giles; 02-15-13 at 09:07 PM.
Old 02-15-13, 09:15 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

Holy shit, Playtime? Fucking A!
Old 02-15-13, 09:54 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
Holy shit, Playtime? Fucking A!
in 70mm it's just outstanding - out of all the bluray's Criterion's edition just pales to Warner's 65mm transfers
Old 02-16-13, 01:06 AM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

I found out about this last week, and I can't wait to see 2001, West Side Story, The Master, Vertigo and Hamlet. I've seen 2001 in 70mm at the music box before and it was great. I didn't care for Lifeforce, and Playtime to me was just ok. I just wish the seats would be just a bit more comfy!
Old 02-06-16, 10:22 AM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

It's happening again:

Old 02-06-16, 11:48 AM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

I've seen all of these films in 70mm. Strangely Vertigo benefits almost nothing from the large format. It just doesn't look that detailed or clear. Something about the optics or the film stock for VistaVision just doesn't make that great a 70mm experience. Now Playtime on the other hand...run, don't walk to see that on the big screen. It's a movie that doesn't even really work at home. It must be seen on the big screen.
Old 02-06-16, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
Holy shit, Playtime? Fucking A!
That does sound super-awesome.
Old 02-06-16, 02:26 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

Not that I can go but wanted to remind people that this thread got bumped and the schedule is different from last time. Wish I lived nearby
Old 02-06-16, 02:47 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

Would love to see "Brainstorm" in 70MM.
Old 02-06-16, 05:24 PM
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Re: Music Box 70mm Film Festival

I used to live a few blocks from The Music Box... man I miss Chicago. NYC just isn't as great...

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