Joe Dante’s “The Movie Orgy,” at the Roxie

In 1968, Joe Dante — the director of "Gremlins" — stitched together 10,000 feet of film into seven hours of weirdness. The Roxie is screening the surviving four-and-a-half hours.

When I began film school in 1994, I was surprised to discover most of my fellow students weren’t interested in film history. Many of them hated black-and-white movies, and they all wanted to be Tarantino when they grew up. (The irony that Tarantino was well-versed in movie history and didn’t attend film school was lost on them.) So my generation of film brats probably wouldn’t have created something as glorious as Joe Dante’s 1968 The Movie Orgy, a seven-hour compilation of trailers, commercials, training films, and all manner of weirdness.

Dante edited all 10,000 feet of 16mm film by hand half a century ago, and this all-too-rare digital screening of the surviving four-and-a-half-hours is part of the Roxie’s Joe Dante Films in Films series. Following Orgy is 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie on 35mm, Dante’s darkly loony “It’s a Good Life” segment being a primer of what can be achieved when on-screen effects are combined with boundless imagination. Other 35mm screenings include Dante’s masterpiece Matinee as well as the sketch jam Amazon Women on the Moon, in which his “Roast Your Loved One” would be the highlight even if it didn’t feature Rip Taylor — but it does, so bust out the confetti! And seriously, don’t even think about missing The Movie Orgy.

The Movie Orgy
Opens Saturday at the Roxie Theater.

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