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‘Running Wild’ kicks off ‘Silent Summer’

W.C. Fields in “Running Wild”

W.C. Fields in “Running Wild”

Step into the past this summer with W. C. Fields, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, Anna May Wong and other greats of the silent-film era. The Silent Film Society of Chicago’s annual “Silent Summer” film festival opens Friday, July 24, in Portage Park with “Running Wild,” a 1927 Fields comedy, and a Buster Keaton short, “My Wife’s Relations,” both with live theater-organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott. Opening night also features pre-show music by the West End Jazz Band.

The film fest takes place over six consecutive Fridays at 8 p.m. at the Portage Theater. Each film will be accompanied with live photoplay organ music. The complete schedule also features “Underworld” (1927), a gangster flick with George Bancroft and Evelyn Brent, based on a script by Chicago journalist Ben Hecht; “Girl Shy” (1924), a Lloyd comedy; “Piccadilly” (1927), starring Wong and Gilda Gray as London nightclub dancers; “The Thief of Baghdad” (1924), a Fairbanks adventure; and “Seventh Heaven” (1927), a World War I picture with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell.

Individual tickets are $10 each ($9 seniors and students) in advance; all tickets are $12 at the door. Festival passes to all six films are $49 ($43 students and seniors) in advance.

For pre-show dining, the Six Corners area offers the Bosnian-American Meisa Cafe, Artemio’s Mexican restaurant, Colombian steakhouse Las Tablas and the Ecuadorian La Pena. For something a little more thematic: A few blocks east, in Irving Park, the elegant Italian-American Sabatino’s doesn’t quite date back to the 1920s, but will help put you in the mood with old-school favorites like Dover sole, boned at tableside, and cherries jubilee.