Author Archives: Chicago Film Society

Rock Hudson Rides Again in Budd Boetticher’s Seminole on Tuesday 2/5 @ 7:30 and Dynamic Duo Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins return in Play it as it Lays, Wednesday 2/6 @ 7:30


The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701  W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Tuesday, February 5 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
SEMINOLE
Directed by Budd Boetticher • 1953
Quicksand, lethal humidity, man-eating reptiles, clouds of mosquitoes dense enough to block out the sun: regardless of how picturesque the terrain may be, there are plenty of reasons not to make a movie in the Florida Everglades. Still, a subset of committed genre specialists including Raoul Walsh and Nicholas Ray forged through the swamp to craft a rarified group of films thick with sweltering atmosphere that we could today call “Everglades Westerns.” Working at Universal, sensitive tough-guy director Budd Boetticher was assigned one of the premiere entries in the subgenre, an ahistorical but nonetheless morally furious condemnation of the Seminole Wars which led to Florida statehood. Lt. Lance Caldwell (Rock Hudson) and Chief Osceola (a real-life Seminole hero of mixed ethnicity, played with deep sensitivity by Anthony Quinn) were childhood best friends but find themselves driven apart by American military incursions into the Everglades. While Caldwell opposes the war on the Seminole tribe, he feels duty-bound to lead his regiment through the perils of the swamp he grew up in, even as the troops weather brutal guerilla attacks by Osceola’s incensed kinsmen. As in all of his best work, Boetticher brings a sense of formally innovative action and emotional grandeur to his B-movie template, ensuring every betrayal and ambush in Seminole hits like a tomahawk. With Western heavies Lee Marvin, James Best, and Russell Johnson. (CW)
87 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: Rock Hudson Trailer Reel – approx. 9 min – 35mm


 

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701  W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, February 6 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
PLAY IT AS IT LAYS
Directed by Frank Perry • 1972
Told in flashbacks from the labyrinthine gardens of a mental hospital, Play It As It Lays is a melancholy look at the day-to-day life of a Hollywood actress Maria Wyeth Lang (Tuesday Weld) searching for her fading childhood in Nevada in the weeks before her hospitalization. Anthony Perkins, reunited with Pretty Poison co-star Weld, carries a soft grace as her shaggy-haired friend, B.Z, a kind but profoundly depressed producer. This crushing depiction of ennui was Frank Perry’s first film following his divorce from long-time creative partner Eleanor Rosenfeld (with whom he worked on David and Lisa and The Swimmer, among others), but he found distinguished new collaborators in Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. In adapting Didion’s novel, Perry recalled, “We broke the novel down into every one of its fragments and arranged them in order, and then rearranged them into our order.” Play It As It Lays received mixed reviews, though it did rally some unlikely partisans: “You watch the kaleidoscope as if assembling a jigsaw,” observed Liz Smith in Cosmopolitan. Play It As It Lays has long been unavailable on home video, but Jordan Cronenweth’s beautiful, everyday vistas of Nevada and California can and should only be seen on the big screen. (VM)
99 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Short: “Brooklyn Goes to Las Vegas” (Arthur Cohen, 1956) – 9 min – 35mm

check of the rest of the season here!

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