Wednesday, July 13th: “Dante’s Inferno” at the Portage

Join us this Wednesday, July 13th for DANTE’S INFERNO
The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
Learn more about the film over on the blog.

July 13th, 2011
Harry Lachman • 1935
Don’t let the title fool you. This crackling 1930s gem touches on Dante but is mostly a thoroughly American examination of capitalism, carnivals, religion, spectacle, love, and luxury—a preachment yarn in the richest and most literal terms imaginable. Spencer Tracy stars as an unemployed schlub who quickly insinuates himself with Henry B. Walthall’s downtrodden concessionaire. Walthall has his own ramshackle Hades exhibit, but Tracy has a born barker’s panache for selling the sizzle. But soon Tracy’s business shrewdness collides with Walthall’s devout intent, especially when the market calls for a bigger, spiffier inferno. Can a man rule the fairground and save his soul at the same time? Claire Trevor co-stars as Walthall’s daughter and Tracy’s squeeze, but no star shines brighter than the ten-minute tour of hell’s depths, carried off with real post-Code nudity and staggering art direction that seemingly marshaled every resource (and then some) at Fox’s disposal. Director Harry Lachman (who entered the industry through the sidelong avenue of post-Impressionist painting!) is largely an unknown entity, but if Dante’s Inferno is not his masterpiece, then the rest must be excavated immediately. Unseen in any theater anywhere in America since LaSalle Bank Cinema’s 2001 screening! (KW)
89 min • Fox Film Corporation • 16mm
Print from Criterion Pictures USA, special thanks to Brian Block
Serial: Daredevils of Red Circle: The Ray of Death (William Witney and John English, 1939)
Cartoon: Red Hot Mama (Dave Fleischer, 1934) 16mm

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