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Silver Screen Club


VENUES AND TICKETS
Whitsell Auditorium
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

The Box Office opens 30 minutes prior to showtime.

PARKING

ADMISSION PRICES
$9 General
$8 PAM Members, Students, Seniors
$6 Friends of the Film Center

Tickets are now available online. Click on the 'Buy Tickets' links to buy online.

BOOK OF TEN TICKETS
$50 Buy Here

THE 10-MINUTE RULE
Seats for advance ticket and pass holders are held until 10 minutes before showtime, when any unfilled seats are released to the public. Thus, advance tickets or passes ensure that you will not have to wait in the ticket purchase line but do not guarantee a seat in the case of arrival after the 10-minute window has begun. Your early arrival also helps get screenings started promptly. We appreciate your understanding. Advance ticket holders who arrive within the 10-minute window but are not seated may exchange their tickets for another screening at the Ticket Outlet or obtain a cash refund at the theater. There are no refunds or exchanges for late arrivals or for missed screenings.



   
Schedule Archives
Festivals Archive

2016
Volume 1

2015
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2014
Volume 6
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2013
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 2
Volume 1

2012
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 1

2011
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 1

2010
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 1

2009
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2008
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 1

2007
Volume 7
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 1

2006
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 2
Volume 1

2005
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2004
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2003
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2002
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2001
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

2000
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

1999
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1

1998
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray (1911-1979) was one of the most innovative and consistently entertaining filmmakers of the Hollywood studio era, remaining legendary for his intense personality, fierce individuality, and restless creative growth. Coming up through the left-wing Theater of Action in New York City followed by the Federal Theatre Project (alongside John Houseman and Elia Kazan), Ray was known as an “actor’s director” for his tendency to allow the actor to define their own role. Despite a relatively short career and working within myriad generic confines—Westerns, film noir, melodramas, and “social problem” pictures—at disparate studios, Ray managed to infuse his films with distinctive visual and thematic style and iconic results. His brash yet sensitive portrayals of American individuality and the collective in flux earned Ray his place among the great American filmmakers; devotee Jean-Luc Godard enthused, “There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforward there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.”



Sat, Apr 25, 2015
at 5 PM

Sun, Apr 26, 2015
at 1 PM

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THEY LIVE BY NIGHT
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1948

After working with Elia Kazan for many years as an assistant, Ray’s directorial debut is the first in a significant line of now-legendary “couple on the lam” works so prominent in American cinema. Bowie (Farley Granger, hot off of Hitchcock’s ROPE) is a wrongly convicted of murder, escapes prison with two pals who have plans to rob a bank to fund their getaway. Bowie is hurt during the heist and left to get caught while the others escape, but Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), one of his partners’ nieces, comes to his aid and shelters him from the fuzz. The two grow close, but when Bowie’s erstwhile partners return with plans for one more heist, Bowie must face his meager prospects head-on. The film greatly impressed a generation of famous cinephile critics—among them François Truffaut—and helped usher in the concept of film noir as we know it today. (95 mins.)

 
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Sat, Apr 25, 2015
at 7 PM

Sun, Apr 26, 2015
at 3:30 PM

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KNOCK ON ANY DOOR
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1949

Nearing the end of a highly productive era at Warner Brothers, Humphrey Bogart started his own company, Santana Productions, and gave the young Nicholas Ray—who impressed Bogart on the strength of the as-yet-unreleased THEY LIVE BY NIGHT—a major opportunity to direct the first film for the fledgling company. The product is this taut “law noir” that sees Bogart in good-guy territory, playing lawyer Andrew Morton who is determined to free Nick Romano (John Derek), a young criminal who shoots a cop in the heat of the moment after a string of petty crimes and personal tragedy. Morton, himself made good after a childhood spent on the hard streets of New York City, sees larger societal problems at play, with Nick—and others like him—the victim. However, George Macready’s by-the-book district attorney stands in the way. Far ahead of its time in its critique of institutional power and the death of the American Dream, KNOCK ON ANY DOOR slots into Ray’s filmography as an under-appreciated gem. (100 mins.)

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Sun, Apr 26, 2015
at 7 PM

A WOMAN’S SECRET
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1949

Written and produced by the esteemed Herman Mankiewicz (CITIZEN KANE), Ray’s second feature for RKO concerns aging, cosmopolitan singer Marian (Maureen O’Hara), who takes the bratty, unpolished upstart Susan (Gloria Grahame) under her wing in an attempt to jumpstart Susan’s career as a performer. When Susan, shot in the chest, turns up at the hospital, all signs point to Marian. The film, told through a series of increasingly tense flashbacks, is a great example of Ray’s directorial promise that would fully flower in subsequent films; his “signature use of staircases and overhead shots to represent conflict is already evident, as is his incredible talent with actors.”—Harvard Film Archive. (84 mins.)

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Fri, May 15, 2015
at 7 PM

Sat, May 16, 2015
at 5 PM

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IN A LONELY PLACE
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1950

In this second of two collaborations with Humphrey Bogart, Ray portrays the murderous side of the movie business, Bogart starring as Dixon “Dix” Steele, a down-on-his-luck, drunkard screenwriter with a proclivity to extreme fits of rage. When Dix is accused of murdering a young woman hired to help him with a script, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame)—a neighbor who can’t quite see what Dix is made of—comes to his rescue by providing an alibi. With Dix cleared, the two enter into a torrid love affair, and Laurel falls victim to Dix’s considerable charm while helping him get on the wagon and renew his career. But in true noir fashion, all that seems well can’t last, and Laurel comes to realize that Dix isn’t quite who she thought he was. “A superb example of the mature Hollywood studio system at the top of its form.”—Roger Ebert. (94 mins.)

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Sat, May 16, 2015
at 7 PM

Sun, May 24, 2015
at 4:30 PM

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THE LUSTY MEN
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1952

Shot primarily in Pendleton, Oregon, THE LUSTY MEN was produced during the Howard Hughes RKO era, a period of relative financial failure. Naturally, Ray does his best with meager resources, directing Robert Mitchum as Jeff McCloud, an injured cowboy who decides to hang it up and return to his hometown after many years away. He signs on with a local ranch and quickly befriends Wes (Arthur Kennedy), a fellow hand with big dreams, who convinces Jeff to train him in the rodeo. Wes’s wife Louise (Susan Hayward) sees the reality of ranch-hand life, however, and fears that Wes is going down the wrong path. Despite immediate success and minor fame, Wes must grapple with this harsh reality when Jeff, by now fully washed-up, decides to re-enter the rodeo. “This film is not a Western. This film is really a film about people who want a home of their own.”—Nicholas Ray. (113 mins.)

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Fri, May 22, 2015
at 7 PM

Sat, May 23, 2015
at 8 PM

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REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1955

Ray reinvigorated and expanded upon the generational-crisis motif of his earlier works in this Warner Brothers-made, mythical tale of a trio of troubled teens. Jim (James Dean), Plato (Sal Mineo), and Judy (Natalie Wood) meet while in jail, each there for a minor transgression stemming from problems at home. Jim, new to town and at odds with his parents, befriends the outcasts but gets into hot water when he crosses Buzz (Corey Allen), one of Judy’s delinquent “friends.” Jim and Buzz are immediate rivals, but after Buzz has an accident during a game of chicken, his friends latch onto the idea that Jim had something to do with it, setting up a showdown at Los Angeles’ famed Griffith Observatory. Featuring beautiful Cinemascope lensing by Ernest Haller, an unsettling score by Leonard Rosenman, and the nexus of the expansive myth of James Dean following his death just before the film was released, Ray’s film remains a American masterpiece of the era. (111 mins.)

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Sat, May 23, 2015
at 6 PM

Sun, May 24, 2015
at 7 PM

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BIGGER THAN LIFE
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1956

Moving to 20th Century Fox for this indictment of traditional masculinity in the American home — in addition to the perils of substance abuse under a pearly-white façade of self-improvement—Ray contin-ues to hone his storytelling ability, here focusing explicitly on the crisis of the American Dream. Ed Avery (James Mason), a schoolteacher and father, begins experiencing debilitating pain, and, told he has only months to live, begins an experimental treatment with cortisone. But when his pain diminishes, Avery continues on the cortisone, transitioning to an abuser of the drug, which threatens not only his career but also his family and, ultimately, their safety. “In their intricate imbrications of star text, iconic Americana, and insinuating directorial commentary, [BIGGER THAN LIFE and films like it] systematically subverted the reassuring conventions of classical Hollywood.”—Paul Brunick, Film Comment. (95 mins.)

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Sun, May 24, 2015
at 2 PM

Mon, May 25, 2015
at 7 PM

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ON DANGEROUS GROUND
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1952

Injecting atmosphere and detailed character development to an already very strong script by A.I. Bezzerides, Robert Ryan stars as Jim Wilson, a hardboiled-as-hardboiled-can-be New York detective sent upstate to investigate a murder. What Wilson happens upon, however, is far more complicated, as the murder-suspect Danny (Sumner Williams) is mentally ill, and Wilson is quickly paired with Walter Brent (Ward Bond), father of the murdered man. Further complicating matters is Wilson’s immediate enchantment with Mary (Ida Lupino), Danny’s sister who happens to be blind and saint-like. Wilson, sens-ing his own deliverance and rejuvenation, has a choice to make: help the clearly ailing Danny or succumb to the pressures of traditional justice. Although met with luke-warm critical and popular reception upon release, the film has since become widely considered “one of the loveliest of Nick Ray’s movies.”—Dave Kehr. (82 mins.)

PLEASE NOTE DATE & TIME CHANGES — SCREENINGS ORIGINALLY ON MAY 15 & 17, NOW RESCHEDULED TO MAY 24 & 25. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS CAUSES.


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Fri, May 29, 2015
at 7 PM

Sun, May 31, 2015
at 4:45 PM

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JOHNNY GUITAR
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1954

Widely cited as an allegory for the anti-Communist hearings overseen by the House Un-American Activites Commission that led to the Hollywood blacklist in 1955, JOHNNY GUITAR is one of the fiercest Westerns ever made. Vienna (Joan Crawford), a saloon owner in a small Arizona town, walks a fine line between the conservative townsfolk, led by vicious ex-rival Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge), and an outlaw gang led by the Dancin’ Kid (Scott Brady). When the mysterious Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) arrives into town, it dredges up a tumultuous past with Vienna, and further drives a wedge between the warring parties. McIvers, the local sheriff (Ward Bond) gives Vienna, Guitar, and the gang 24 hours to leave town, which sets up one of the most unexpected showdowns in Hollywood history. Shot in retina-searing Trucolor by veteran Harry Stradling, JOHNNY GUITAR is one of the most original films of the 1950s. (110 mins.)

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Sat, May 30, 2015
at 4:30 PM

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PARTY GIRL
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1958

A latter-day mob tale made for glamorous MGM—ironic, at that most softboiled of studios—Ray follows the gritty gangster classics of the 1930s by crafting the center of PARTY GIRL’s story on mafia lawyer Thomas Farrell (Robert Taylor), who has a sterling record defending crooks and murderers. Farrell, in the course of his work for archetypal boss Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb), meets Vicki (Cyd Charisse), a stun-ningly beautiful yet cynical nightclub dancer. Vicki and Farrell’s lives coincide at just the right time and they enter into an unspoken pact to help each other break free from the vicious cycles in which they’re caught. Rico, however, sees things much differently. “It’s hard to think of another [film where] two wooden actors are used more creatively and movingly than Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse.”—Jonathan Rosenbaum. (99 mins.)

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Sat, May 30, 2015
at 7 PM

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KING OF KINGS
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1961

KING OF KINGS, Ray’s second film for MGM, is truly his “epic” (featuring narration by Orson Welles!), a lavish historical ensemble drama chronicling the life of Jesus Christ (Jeffrey Hunter), but still very much a Ray film in its intimate focus on individual crises. The film’s main temporal focus is the lead-up to Jesus’ crucifixion, complete with the shady, back-alley political maneuverings and sweeping drama. While the film was shot in Technirama 70mm, with thousands of extras, excessive studio involvement made it so “the tension between ambition and compromise is rarely more glaringly obvious than it is with KING OF KINGS.”—Bernard Eisenschitz. (168 mins.)

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Sun, May 31, 2015
at 7 PM

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LIGHTNING OVER WATER
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1980

Ray, dying of cancer, fought hard to make this last film, a document of his final days in New York City. Wenders, by then a close friend of Ray’s, comes to New York after being on location shooting a noir in Los Angeles. What follows is Ray, with Wenders’ tender assistance, reminiscing about his life and work—all in his tiny loft, surrounded by friends, family, and a film crew, on his own terms. The result is a film that “lays testament to a man’s will, the creative consistency of one of the greatest individuals in cinematic history who persisted in his craft and breathed film even in the twilight of his life.”— Goethe Institut. (91 mins.)

FREE ADMISSION


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Sat, Jun 6, 2015
at 7 PM

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WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN
DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS RAY
US, 1973

In 1971, Ray, at the invitation of experimental filmmakers Larry Gottheim and Ken Jacobs, took a teaching post at SUNY Binghamton in the fledgling film production department. The major project to come out of the period is this film, an experimental meta-narrative centering on a teacher (Ray) and his students (played by his real-life students), who are all engaged in creating their own small stories inspired by their mentor. Remarkable for its technique of using several simultaneous images at once and featuring profound contributions from many of his students (most notably Tom Farrell), Ray continued to tinker with this wrenching, highly personal labor of love until his death in 1979. (93 mins.)

WITH 

DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH
DIRECTOR: SUSAN RAY 
US, 2011
Nicholas Ray left behind a great deal of unused footage from WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN upon his death in 1979. With DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH, Ray’s widow Susan combs through the archive, seeking a representation of her husband through his very personal late work. What follows is a poignant, spell-binding answer to the question: who, exactly, was Nicholas Ray, and what kind of relationship did he have with his own creations? (70 mins.)

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