Thursday, November 1, 2018

Screening of “Shadow of a Doubt” at Daystar Center November 10

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: November 10, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was Alfred Hitchcock’s personal favorite of all his films. It is packed with heart-pounding suspense and truly amazing performances. When Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) visits his sister’s family in Santa Rosa, CA, his niece and namesake “Young Charlie” (Teresa Wright) begins to suspect that he may be the “Merry Widow Murderer,” wanted by the authorities. As Young Charlie’s suspicions about her uncle prove to be true, she has a tough decision to make. Will she report her uncle to the detectives that are tailing him or will she let him get away with murder? With a unique mixture of charm and menace, Cotton’s characterization is one of the creepiest in the history of film.

Considered Hitchcock’s first great American film, it features an extraordinary supporting cast that includes, MacDonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Wallace Ford, and Hume Cronyn, in his very first screen role. "Shadow of a Doubt" also has the distinction of being the only film Hitchcock made on location.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Publicity photo of Veronica Lake for I Married a Witch

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Book Review: “Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeyman”

When I was younger they used to show Babes in Toyland (1934)—also known as March of the Wooden Soldiers—on television in New York during the Thanksgiving holiday season. I always looked forward to watching it with my older brother. Henry Brandon (billed as Henry Kleinbach), like Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939), scared me to death as a child. Hamilton had the flying monkeys, Brandon had the boogeymen; the stuff nightmares are made of.

Authors Bill Cassara and Richard S. Greene have compiled a biography of the character actor that highlights his roles on stage and in film, rather than presenting a full-blown record of the details of his birth, family life, schooling, and so on. That doesn’t mean we don’t learn some facts about Brandon’s life apart from his career. We learn that he was educated at Stamford University, was fluent in German, and had a distinguished military record during World War II.

The bulk of the biography details Brandon’s acting careering, highlighting his signature roles: The evil Barnaby in Babes in Toyland and Scar in The Searchers (1955). Brandon’s character acting career was quite prolific, but unlike Walter Brennan, most people didn’t know Brandon by name. Brandon carved out successful career in Hollywood as a character actor without—unlike Brennan—being under contract to a major or minor Hollywood studio. Brandon’s talent for portraying just about any ethnic character pretty much guaranteed his constant employment.

Henry Brandon: King of the Boogeymen is generously illustrated with photographs of the actor in his various film roles, as well as casual photographs of Brandon with his many friends and colleagues.

If you’re interested in classic Hollywood and learning about a talented journeyman character actor, you’ll enjoy this biography.

Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeyman
Trade Paper: 536 pages
BearManor Media (June 23, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781629333359
ISBN-13: 978-1629333359
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Price: $29.95

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Screening of “Pursued” at Daystar Center October 29

Pursued (1947)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: October 29, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Pursued (1947) is considered the first noir western, starring Teresa Wright and Robert Mitchum. Mitchum is Jeb, a man haunted by traumatic events from his past that left him an orphan. Mrs. Callum (Judith Anderson) adopts him and raises him as her son with her natural children Adam (John Rodney) and Thorley (Wright). But there is tension in these relationships, and a man he doesn’t even know torments Jeb for reasons he doesn’t understand.

Robert Mitchum and Teresa Wright
Directed by Raoul Walsh (White Heat), with photography by the legendary James Wong Howe and music by the equally legendary Max Steiner. Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese counts "Pursued" as one of his favorite films and is responsible for its restoration.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3


Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Screening of "Boomerang!" at Daystar Center October 13

Boomerang! (1947)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: October 13, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Boomerang! (1947) is based on a true crime. A minister is murdered in a small town in Connecticut and John Waldron (Arthur Kennedy), a young drifter, is arrested and charged with the crime.



The prosecuting attorney Henry Harvey (Dana Andrews) is under pressure from local politicians to convict Waldron. The evidence points toward Waldrons’ guilt, but Harvey has his doubts. Directed in a semidocumentary-style by Elia Kazan, the movie features an impressive supporting cast that includes Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Sam Levine.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3.


Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Screening of "Theodora Goes Wild" at Daystar Center September 8

Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: September 1, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Imagine you’re a small-town girl from New England, raised by two maiden aunts. Imagine you’re a Sunday school teacher and the church organist. Imagine that you can barely sneeze without the entire community knowing about it. Then imagine that in the midst of all this, you’ve written a racy best-selling novel that has taken the world by storm under a pseudonym. How do you manage to live your life while keeping the truth from everyone you know? That’s the plot of Theodora Goes Wild, one of the great screwball comedies of the 1930s.


Irene Dunne and Melvyn Douglas

Backstory: Star Irene Dunne had carved out a successful movie career as a dramatic actress. She was reluctant to do comedy, afraid that a flop in a comedy could possibly ruin her career.

To avoid doing the movie, Dunne stayed in Europe on vacation  for an extra month! Unfortunately, for Dunne, she had a contract deal with Columbia Pictures and if she didn’t come back to do the movie, she would have been put on suspension.

Dunne need not have worried. When Theodora Goes Wild was released, it was an immediate box office and critical hit. Dunne received her second Best Actress nomination (she earned a total of five) and she became a screwball comedy icon. In an interview with film historian James Harvey, Dunne said, “That film [Theodora Goes Wild]…was the biggest surprise of my life. I still don’t see how it was so successful…”

General admission $5, students and seniors $3.


Douglas and Dunne on location for Theodora Goes Wild
Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Review of “All My Sons” at #NoirCityChicago


Monday night the A Film at Noir City Chicago was the film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s award-winning play, All My Sons (1948). The film starred Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster as father and son respectively.



The movie was introduced by Alan K. Rode, film historian and author of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film. He made it clear that this film didn’t fit the film noir category, but because of its dark thematic elements thought it would be appreciated by a film noir crowd. He was right. The film was dark and somber, but it was also superbly acted. Rode noted that photographer-turned-playwright-turned director Irving Reis overall did a good job directing the film, but thought the cinematography was a bit static. To be honest, I didn’t notice this (maybe I need to see it again); I found the subject matter and the performances compelling enough.

As the father, Edward G. Robinson was terrific. His characterization was multidimensional, which made Joe Keller a flesh and blood human being. Joe is flawed for sure, but not entirely unsympathetic. As Joe’s son, Chris, Burt Lancaster was solid. Physically, he doesn’t resemble Robinson at all, but his characterization was very strong without any of the screen chewing that he displayed in I Walk Alone, released the same year. The other cast members: Louisa Horton, Mady Christians, Howard Duff, and Arlene Francis were also very good.
 
A tense scene between Howard Duff, Burt Lancaster, and Louisa Horton
All My Sons was definitely not a film noir, but it was engrossing cinema nonetheless.

The #NoirCityChicago film festival, wraps up on Thursday, August 23, 2018. Looking forward to this festival coming to Chicago again in 2019.  

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