Classic movies, live music: Des Plaines Theatre hosts silent film series

  • "The Kid," starring Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan, is among 21 Chaplin films available on HBO Max. The Des Plaines Theatre will show a Chaplin double feature later this year on the big screen.

    "The Kid," starring Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan, is among 21 Chaplin films available on HBO Max. The Des Plaines Theatre will show a Chaplin double feature later this year on the big screen.

 
 
Posted5/26/2022 8:35 AM

The Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines, will become a virtual time machine on the third Wednesday of every month beginning in June.

Patrons on those nights will experience a night at the movies as it was 100 years ago, watching classic silent films accompanied by a live musical score performed on an organ.

 

The theater's Silent Film Classics series starts Wednesday, June 22, with the Buster Keaton comedy "Steamboat Bill, Jr.," which contains the legendary stunt where the entire front wall of a house falls toward Keaton, who escapes injury by standing in front of the open window.

That screening also features live sound effects by Nick White, as well as Jay Warren on the organ.

Ron Onesti, operator of the theater, says he has "relished the opportunity" to program these films. "I look forward to sharing the movies with the community," he said in a news release.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at oshows.com. Future offerings include Lon Chaney's version of "The Phantom of the Opera" just in time for Halloween on Oct. 26, and a Charlie Chaplin double feature on Nov. 16.

Speaking of Charlie ...

HBO Max's selection of titles curated by Turner Classic Movies include 21 films starring Chaplin, the most famous and beloved silent-film star. They include both versions of "The Gold Rush," which contains his famous fork dance; "Modern Times," in which he rides the gears inside a giant machine; "City Lights," a punchy and prototypical rom-com; and "The Great Dictator," a sendup of Adolf Hitler and fascism that was released a year after World War II began.

Also on the HBO Max streaming lineup (and with sound, of course): "Chaplin," the 1992 biopic starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by erstwhile dinosaur theme park owner Richard Attenborough.

• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who cried at the end of "City Lights."

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