Arthur Ripley's noir classic, The Chase (1946), will kick off a new 35mm Sunday series at the Chazen based around a new book, Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling, by UW-Madison film studies professor (emeritus) David Bordwell. A companion to 2016's The Rhapsodes (Bordwell's book on 1940s film criticism), the text examines the era's application and trend of narrative flashbacks as well as its influentially trenchant psychological profiles. Both of these factor in to Ripley's intriguing and suspenseful film, adapted from Cornell Woolrich's novel The Black Path Of Fear, which follows Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings), an unemployed veteran plagued by hallucinations of post-traumatic stress.
After returning a wallet to ruthless mob boss Eddie (Steve Cochran) and his right-hand man Gino (the legendary Peter Lorre), Chuck is lured in to their illegal activities by way of his recruitment as a chauffeur. He instantly falls for Eddie's tortured wife Lorna (French star of "Poetic Realism," Michèle Morgan) and becomes mixed up in a plot to escort her to Havana, Cuba, to start anew—only to find himself framed for murder.
If you're interested in hearing more revealing remarks beyond The Chase's seductive use of silhouettes by cinematographer Franz F. Planer and how the sinuous plot seems like source material for John Swartzwelder when writing The Simpsons episode "Bart The Murderer," this particular screening will be preceded by an hour-long lecture and discussion on this unique and sophisticated entry in the seven-film series (through March 11) by Bordwell himself. —Grant Phipps