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Jumping ahead a few years from 1940’s Chicago and 1948’s Chicago the Beautiful, the Chicago Film Archives posted a 1977 film, Chicago Is . . . , late last week. And it’s excellent.

According to a DNAinfo article by Kyla Gardner, the fifteen-minute film was made by Cine-Mark productions for the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. “The film was made in the late 1970s to encourage tourism to the city and therefore offers a light and fluffy glimpse of Chicago,” Anne Wells, collections manager for Chicago Film Archives, wrote in an email [to Gardner]. “It focuses on tourist hot spots, rather than diving into specific neighborhoods, populations or any critical discussion for that matter.”

Along with excellent footage from all over the city—showcasing shopping, dining, night life, museums, and parks—the film features great vintage shots of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, onstage at Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival. “Opera, ballet, and the world famous Chicago Symphony all add their cultural magic to the city of entertainment. . . . Picnics take on special meaning when combined with concerts at Ravinia, summer home of the famed Chicago Symphony.”


Like the previously posted Chicago, the Beautiful from 1948, another vintage film—providing a snapshot of a now-historic Chicago era—has been recently discovered.

The story behind the ca. 1940 film (via DNAinfo Chicago) is here, and the complete thirty-two-minute film can be viewed (via vimeo) below.


Legendary Hollywood filmmaker James A. Fitzpatrick produced, directed, and narrated a number of Traveltalks for MGM during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. And one of his shorts was Chicago, the Beautiful, providing a marvelous glimpse of our fair city in 1948.

Some of MGM’s heavyweights worked on the film, including cinematographers Virgil Miller and Robert Sable, along with composer/arranger Joseph Nussbaum and conductor Irvin Talbot.

The marvelous, brief film can be viewed here. Enjoy!

Even though Orchestra Hall and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are not mentioned, the Civic Opera House (pre-Lyric Opera of Chicago) gets a nice plug.

the vault

Theodore Thomas

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The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.


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