Wind Across the Everglades | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Wind Across the Everglades 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

A kind of litmus test for auteurists, this philosophical adventure story set in turn-of-the-century Florida (1958, 93 min.) was Nicholas Ray's penultimate Hollywood assignment, though he was fired before the end of shooting and barred from the final editing by screenwriter Budd Schulberg (On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd), who produced the film with his brother Stuart. (In his introduction to the published screenplay, Schulberg doesn't even mention Ray.) An ecological parable, it pits an earnest schoolteacher turned game warden (Christopher Plummer) against a savage poacher of wild birds (Burl Ives) heading a grungy gang in the swamps. Ray's masterful use of color and mystical sense of equality between the antagonists (also evident in Rebel Without a Cause and Bitter Victory) are made all the more piquant here by his feeling for folklore and outlaw ethics as well as his cadenced mise en scene. The result is somewhat choppy (one gets a sense of subplots being truncated), yet the film builds to a powerful encounter between Plummer and Ives, and Ray's personal touches are unmistakable. (There's even an upside-down point-of-view shot, similar to the ones in Rebel and Hot Blood.) The performances are quite striking, especially Chana Eden's as the female lead--not to mention cameos by Gypsy Rose Lee, author MacKinlay Kantor, and Peter Falk (in his film debut). Film critic Fred Camper will introduce the screening and lead a discussion afterward; a 35-millimeter print will be shown. Northwestern Univ. Block Museum of Art, 1967 South Campus Dr., Evanston, Thursday, June 6, 8:00, 847-491-4000.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
October 08
Galleries & Museums
August 20

Popular Stories