Live accompaniment to newly restored films has become almost commonplace, but the restlessly versatile three-man Alloy Orchestra has been a major player since 1991. Their latest composition to hit Chicago is their live score to “Varieté,” E. A. Dupont’s underrated trapeze-and-carnival Weimar waking nightmare. The film itself is a bracing DCP digital restoration that restores cuts made by American censors in 1925. Emil Jannings is the sideshow manager who dumps his family for a beguiling orphan; betrayal follows, you betcha. The ravishing, mobile cinematography is by Karl Freund (“The Last Laugh,” “Metropolis,” “I Love Lucy”). I’ve seen the restoration without the Alloy Orchestra score, but “Varieté” is pretty much glorious all around already. 73m. (Ray Pride)
“Varieté” shows Sunday, October 2 by the Film Studies Center at Logan Center for the Arts, 915 East 60th.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.