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8th Dec 2017(Fri)
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 PM 8:00--PM 9:45
"On Dangerous Ground" - A Wintry Noir For The Noel
Starring Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, Ward Bond. Directed by Nicholas Ray. 1951, 82mins. B&W.

A Rare 35mm Screening

Sam Spade was never spotted hanging tinsel from an evergreen bough, nor was Phillip Marlow ever said to have visions of sugar plums. That’s because Film Noir, with its fixation on the dark and unseemly side of life, isn’t on the typical list of Christmastime movies. But this year, the Loew’s Jersey gives classic film fans a very special Holiday gift: a rare 35mm, BIG Screen presentation of an extraordinary – if untypical – Noir, set in a winter wonderland, that DOES seem to fit the season of light because though there is still loneliness, despair and even hatred in the story, there’s also -- almost uniquely so in the genre -- the hope of redemption.

In “On Dangerous Ground”, Robert Ryan plays an embittered city cop who has lost hold of his soul after years of having to deal with the kind of toughs and crooks who are the staple of Film Noir. After causing his superiors grief by roughing up one too many suspects, he is literally sent packing, assigned to help find the killer of a young girl in a snow-covered countryside far from the city. Though Ryan sadly never quite achieved super-star status, he was one of the best actors of his generation, able to incarnate good guy or bad with equal talent; and here he is very effective at being a bit of both, in the Noir tradition of leading man.

Ward Bond, one of the most legendary character actors of all time, is the father of the young victim, and makes no effort to disguise his rage over what happened to his daughter or his intent to shoot the killer himself as soon as he can. Ida Lupino, as always very effective in finding subtlety and complexity in her roles, is a blind woman whose warmth and courage not only allow her to overcome her own handicap, but also to care for her mentally ill brother – who, it develops, is the killer Ryan and Bond are looking for.

This fine cast is a big part of the reason that what might have come off as a strained or hooky story line instead is both riveting and convincing. Another reason is the skill of auteur-director Nicholas Ray -- perhaps best known for “Rebel Without A Cause” -- in portraying wounded, grasping psyches on screen. And this unusual Noir also succeeds through the clever conceit of first embracing, and then upending one of the most familiar tenets of its genre: classic Noir is a creature of the city with an urban look and feel, right down to the ubiquitous flashing neon sign. It is precisely in such a setting that Ryan’s character has been relentlessly burned out as a cop and, even more fundamentally, a human being. But when he is literally exiled from the city and pushed out into the countryside, the arc of the story changes as drastically as the scenery, and reclamation seems possible. And lastly, as he did for so many other movies, including some of Hitchcock’s best, Bernard Herman contributes an evocative score. In 35mm.

Admission: $8 for Adults, $6 for Seniors (65+) and Children (12 & younger).


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