Crime Without Passion or Cinema Without Sense? Hecht & MacArthur’s Woozy Whatsit in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

Crime Without Passion HSWednesday, March 12 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur and Lee Garmes • 1934
Granted a baffling degree of freedom by distributor Paramount Pictures, professional script doctors Hecht and MacArthur set up shop at Astoria’s Eastern Service Studios and vowed to produce independent movies that would expose the sickening bloat of the studio system. By all accounts, Hecht and MacArthur banged out a crackerjack script and deemed the rest of the process superfluous: they lounged about on the floor while drunkenly playing backgammon and left the technical niceties to cameraman (and de facto director) Lee Garmes. The indifference extended to their protagonist, too—Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), a cocksure and conscienceless defense attorney whose peerless contempt for the “pitiful insects” of the world marks him as a pre-Ayn Rand übermensch. Gentry’s attempt to dispose of his mistress (Margo) leads to inevitable tragedy, complete with the flight of the Furies courtesy of montage maestro Slavko Vorkapich. An unlikely hit, Crime Without Passion offered audiences their first opportunity to scrutinize Rains without a bevy of bandages and a cloak of invisibility. (KW)
80 min • Hecht-MacArthur Productions, Inc. • 35mm from Universal

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