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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE CHAIR

7:20

Monday, January 29

Directed by Robert Drew, Gregory Shuker, Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker

(1962) It’s five days to the Chair for convicted murderer Paul Crump, barely enough time for final edits on his novel. But it’s super-star lawyer Louis Nizer to the rescue, in a last-minute effort to gain the Governor of Illinois’ commutation, as the 28-year-old prosecutor practices his golf swing. 16mm print courtesy Academy Film Archive. Approx. 58 min.

Plus Chiefs (1968, Richard Leacock, Noel E. Parmentel Jr.): At a Honolulu cops’ convention, riot weapons are fondled, war stories are exchanged, and bullet-proof vests tried on for size over luridly-colored Hawaiian shirts. Digital. Approx. 19 min.

Reviews

“Offers high drama, complex characters, and vivid performances that match those of any fictional film… The filmmakers, working with newly available lightweight equipment, capture the action with agility and concentration, but their method is not that of the self-effacing fly on the wall: the subjects are aware of the camera, and, far from censoring themselves, they expose their machinations and emotions with a self-aware sincerity and perform with a confessional and confrontational daring.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Something of a real-life courtroom drama. What’s memorable isn’t the lawyers’ speeches, or even the outcome; it’s the moment when defense attorney Donald Moore hangs up the phone, after a priest promises to speak on his client’s behalf, and the lawyer breaks down in tears of relief and exhaustion. That is good drama.”
– Jason Bailey, Flavorpill