The Man I Love | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Man I Love 

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The Man I Love

Veteran action director Raoul Walsh applies his plain-spoken, hard-bitten style to this 1946 multicharacter melodrama, itself an odd melange--a film noir with music by George Gershwin and Jerome Kern. Petey Brown (Ida Lupino) is a singer who's pursued by sleazy nightclub owner Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda) while dealing with her own sudden love for a tall, taciturn pianist and the problems of her three siblings and their neighbors. Walsh's directness gives the film an understated quality that may seem anachronistic today but has real cinematic integrity. The editing and composition are perfectly matched to the action, yet in concert they generate their own consistent rhythm. Despite the character-centered plot the camera often shows much more than faces, providing metaphors for the drama: when Petey and Nicky part for the last time at opposite edges of the frame, a large wall and staircase centered between them gives the moment an almost physical weight. Martin Scorsese's 1977 New York, New York is supposedly a partial remake. On the same program, Bob Clampett's 1944 Bugs Bunny cartoon Hare Ribbin'. LaSalle Theater, 4901 W. Irving Park, Saturday, August 9, 8:00, 312-904-5549.

--Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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