The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas On Every Silver Screen We See

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 3, 2012 7:20PM

Robert Mitchum stalks children and tells the story of Good and Evil in The Night of the Hunter at the Portage Theater Dec. 19.

We’re three days into December and already movie theaters across the Chicago area are preparing to show special screenings of holiday classics old, new and unexpected. The most popular screenings are most certainly the Music Box holiday sing-alongs of White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life; tickets are still available for those screenings, but they won’t last.

The Music Box isn’t the only area theater getting into the holiday spirit. Plenty of movie houses are offering family screenings, sing-alongs, or simple screenings for all tastes. We’ve put together a few of our favorites for your use.

Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

The beleaguered Six Corners movie house has two alternative film screenings for the holidays. First, the Northwest Chicago Film Society screens Charles Laughton’s underrated classic The Night of the Hunter Dec. 19. Featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his two career-defining performances (the other being his portrayal of Max Cady in the original Cape Fear), Laughton created a surreal fantasy that bridged Grimm Brothers fairy tale with images of Norman Rockwell’s America. Mitchum, as a murderous preacher, terrorizes the children of a widow (Shelly Winters) across the countryside as he seeks a hidden stash of stolen loot, only to find resistance in the form of a stoic foster mother (Lillian Gish). The last third of the movie plays out against a Christmas backdrop, making this an unlikely holiday take. (7:30 p.m., $5)

On Dec. 22, the Portage continues its run as Chicago’s home for offbeat horror films with Santa’s Scary Saturday, a daylong screening of Godzilla, classic Universal Horror, B-grade horror films, and Spaceballs.

Lake Theatre (1022 Lake St., Oak Park)

The Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest is hosting a special screening of the classic holiday movie Miracle on 34th Street 10 a.m. Dec. 8. This is a free event, but you must pick up tickets from the Community Bank (7777 Lake St., River Forest).

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas will be shown 10 a.m. Dec. 15. Admission is free and is sponsored by Downtown Oak Park.

Tivoli Theatre (5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove)

The Tivoli’s annual Holiday Classic Film Festival kicks off Dec. 9 with the 1938 Katherine Hepburn classic Holiday. That’s followed by Debbie Reynolds in Susan Slept Here Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Bill Murray in Scrooged Dec. 11; White Christmas Dec. 12; and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Dec. 13. Showtimes each night are at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. On Dec. 28, the Tivoli’s 10th annual midnight show is Planes, Trains and Automobiles (12:01 a.m. Dec. 29). Admission is $5.

Patio Theater (6008 W. Irving Park Rd.)

The Patio’ new digital projection system is installed and they’re putting it to good use with screenings of A Christmas Story Dec. 8 and 9; White Christmas Dec. 14-16; and It’s a Wonderful Life Dec. 22. Admission is $5.