The Belcourt’s got some showing off to do. Having recently installed two new 4K digital projectors, the theater is now able to screen the highly touted DCP restorations that have been criss-crossing the country.
As a result, this month the theater has programmed four high-profile digital restorations. It started last weekend with Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (which people are still arguing about on Twitter and discussing in CL's comments thread) and continues June 15-16 with a Scorsese favorite, Roberto Rossellini's romantic drama Journey to Italy with Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders. The Belcourt even managed to wrangle the newly spiffed-up version of Lawrence of Arabia, which trumps the summer competition.
For this weekend's selection, The Belcourt has chosen another Oscar-winning classic, John Huston’s The African Queen. Yes, the romantic voyage of Humphrey Bogart’s grizzled Charlie Allnut and Katharine Hepburn’s prim Rose Sayer will take center screen 12:45 p.m. Saturday on a full day for the repertory house: The Secret of NIMH at 10 a.m., followed by Frances Ha, The Sapphires, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, and at midnight This Is Spinal Tap — with Tim Burton’s Batman screening outside.
At Time Out Chicago, veteran Scene contributor Joshua Rothkopf applauded the film:
The 1951 classic, about a cantankerous boat captain (Bogart) and the stiff-backed missionary (Hepburn) who radicalizes him into political action, has never looked better. A full digital restoration results in golden hues and crisp edges. (Widescreen fanatics, be warned; the movie was shot in the squarish dimensions of older TV screens.) Yielding to Queen’s spell is tantamount to enjoying the charms of Casablanca, to which this is an equal.
Already have weekend plans? No worries. The movie that finally won Bogie an Oscar will have a second, final show next Thursday, June 13, at 5 p.m.