Storefront Cinema offers Nov. 12 event at EigerLab

Local film group offers the original King Kong and a Betty Boop 75th anniversary tribute

Storefront Cinema, Rockford’s only independent movie theater, is back again and will present two unique film programs Saturday, Nov. 12.

At 4:30 p.m., Storefront will present a 75th anniversary tribute to cartoon cutie Betty Boop. A creation of animators at the Max Fleischer Cartoon Studio, Betty made her screen debut in 1930. The program will feature 12 Betty Boop cartoons, including Betty’s first screen appearance in 1930, a bouncing ball sing-along with Rudy Vallee, three Boop cartoons featuring Cab Calloway music, and one of the later Boop cartoons from 1936 showing Betty with a more modest costume design to appease the Hollywood censors. Another highlight is Popeye the Sailor’s debut in a Betty Boop film from 1933.

At 7 p.m., Storefront will present a rare, uncut version of the original King Kong (1933), director Merian C. Cooper’s classic film starring Fay Wray and fearsome giant gorilla King Kong, the creation of early special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien. King Kong is a “Beauty and the Beast” story of a documentary film crew that discovers an enormous ape on a remote island. The ape takes a fancy to the crew’s only female cast member (Wray), makes off with her, and is captured and returned to New York City to be put on display. The stop-motion effects used to bring Kong to life, and the inventive musical score (by Max Steiner) made King Kong one of the most influential films of the early 1930s. The print that will be shown features several scenes that were deemed too graphic for 1933 audiences and had been cut from later reissues of the film.

The films will be shown at the EigerLab Auditorium, 605 Fulton Ave., Rockford. Admission is $5 per show.

Founded more than 20 years ago, Storefront Cinema has a rich and varied history of providing alternative film programming to the Rockford area. Storefront’s most recent presentations were screenings of Technicolor classics The Road to Bali and Bonnie and Clyde last April at EigerLab.

From the Nov. 9-15, 2005, issue

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