qA decadent feast for the eyes, the 1926 Italian historical epic The Last Days of Pompeii comes to the Music Box as part of its monthly Silent Cinema Series with live organ accompaniment. The lives of a prominent statesman, a beautiful aristocrat, a pagan priest and a blind flower girl are interwoven in this elaborate costume drama romanticizing the final hours of those ill-fated souls living in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Second Saturday Silent Cinema presents a restored, color-tinted print of The Last Days of Pompeii on Saturday, January 12, noon,at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue.

This Italian silent was based on Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), arguably the most popular historical novel written in the nineteenth century. Bulwer-Lytton’s tale of the young dandy Glaucus in love with beautiful Ione was the canonical narrative of Pompeii’s destruction. Glaucus’ jealous rival, the Egyptian priest Arbaces, slays Ione’s brother Apaecides, whom he has failed to convert to his mystery religion. Exploiting the love of the blind slave girl Nydia for Glaucus, her master, Arbaces proceeds to blame Glaucus for the murder. Then Mount Vesuvius strikes: the eruption kills the villain, and blind Nydia guides Ione and Glaucus through the rain of ashes to safety outside of the collapsing city. This restored, color-tinted print is courtesy of the British Film Institute.

Named by Chicago magazine as the Best New Film Series of 2011 and recently hailed by the Chicago Reader’s J.R. Jones as one of the best movie matinee series in the city, the Music Box Silent Cinema Series is presented on the second Saturday of each month at noon. All films are shown “authentically” in 35mm at proper silent film speed and aspect ratio with live accompaniment by Dennis Scott at the Music Box theatre organ.

Music Box Second Saturday Silent Cinema Series

The Last Days of Pompeii (Carmine Gallone and Amleto Palermi, 1926, 144m)

Saturday, January 12, noon

Tickets – $10 adults; $8 students and seniors – at the Music Box Theatre box office or online at

Music Box Theatre’s Second Saturday Silent Cinema Series continues February 9, 2013 with 1920’s Within Our Gates, the oldest surviving African-American-directed feature film.

Dennis Scott, Music Box Theatre’s house organist, is an internationally known silent film organist dubbed the “Master of Magic Notes” by Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of the comic genius Harold Lloyd. Scott began accompanying silent films in the 1970s, when he started playing theater pipe organs installed in pizza parlors in the Midwest and the West Coast. He is a co-founder of the Silent Film Society of Chicago. Ongoing at the Music Box, he plays weekend intermissions, the annual Sing-Along Sound of Music, Sing-Along Grease, Valentine’s Day Sing-Along and the acclaimed Music Box Christmas Sing-Along, a Chicago holiday tradition for nearly 30 years. For Music Box’s Second Saturday Silent Cinema Series, Scott accompanies a classic silent film, live, at noon on the second Saturday of each month on the Music Box Theatre organ. The series was named the “Best New Film Series of 2011” by Chicago magazine and “Best Matinee Film Series of 2012” by the Chicago Reader.

About the Music Box Theatre: For nearly 30 years the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, festivals and some of the greatest cinematic events in Chicago. It currently has the largest cinema space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States. For additional information please visit . Download the entire Music Box Theatre Winter Calendar here: