Friday, August 17, 2012

Noir City: Chicago 4—it's like, none more black

Posted By on 08.17.12 at 05:18 PM

Robert Ryan loses his cool in Nicholas Rays On Dangerous Ground
  • Robert Ryan loses his cool in Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground
For the fourth year, Music Box and the Film Noir Foundation present a weeklong festival of vintage noir that includes both old favorites (White Heat, Kiss Me Deadly) and intriguing rarities (William Castle's 1949 thriller Undertow, shot on the streets of Chicago); check out our roundup with capsule links here. A few years ago I wrote at length about Robert Ryan, a Chicago native, and the fest offers a terrific Ryan double feature on Tuesday: Max Ophuls's Caught (1948) and Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground (1952), both from the chaotic period when Howard Hughes was presiding over RKO Radio Pictures. Produced by the tiny Enterprise Pictures, Caught was the story of a tyrannical millionaire who was based partly on Hughes, and Hughes perversely agreed to loan out his contract player Ryan to play the role, which put Ryan in a ticklish position. Two years later Ryan gave one of his finest performances in RKO's On Dangerous Ground, but Hughes was dissatisfied with it and sat on it for years before the story was reordered to his approval in the editing room and the movie was released in 1952.

Also in this week's issue we have a long review of 2 Days in New York, Julie Delpy's sequel to her 2007 screwball comedy 2 Days in Paris. Delpy stars as a woman whose boyfriend (Chris Rock, replacing Adam Goldberg from the original movie) has to contend with her obnoxious relatives when they pay a visit to the couple in Brooklyn. There's also a recommended review of ParaNorman, the latest animation from the Oregon-based Laika Studio, which made Coraline, and new critical capsules for Beyond the Myth, a local documentary about the bad rap against pit bulls; The Contradictions of Fair Hope, which looks at the "benevolent societies" that aided free blacks during Reconstruction; Englewood (The Growing Pains in Chicago), a local drama about three friends toughing it out in the title 'hood; Free Men, a French drama about the real-life Muslim cleric who helped save French Jews during the Nazi occupation; The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a children's drama from the man who wrote What's Eating Gilbert Grape; and Why Stop Now, an indie comedy featuring the unlikely trio of Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan.

Best bets for repertory: did I mention Noir City: Chicago 4? Also, check out Jacques Rivette's Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), screening daily in a new print at Gene Siskel Film Center; F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, Saturday at University of Chicago Doc Films; and Robert Redford's Quiz Show (1994), Monday night by DVD projection at Transistor, for free.

Last but not least, tonight at Hideout, Chicago Film Archives holds its CFA Media Mixer. A benefit for the archives, one of the city's great cinema resources, the event includes live music, a screening of commissioned shorts, and other fun stuff. Tickets are $15; click here to order.

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