Martin Scorsese called him one of America’s greatest film actors, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Crossfire, yet today he’s mostly known only to film buffs. The Chicago Reader’s film editor J.R. Jones joins us to discuss his new biography, The Lives of Robert Ryan, which digs as deep into Robert Ryan’s films as it does his political activism – though Ryan often played a bad guy in movies, he was a strong defender of Democratic rights, fighting McCarthyism in the 1950s, and joining Civil Rights marches in the ‘60s. Chicago Tonight will show clips of Ryan’s most famous roles, sharing screen time with Jimmy Stewart in The Naked Spur and in the violent western The Wild Bunch.
The Music Box Theatre will show the tense boxing drama The Set-Up starring Ryan and host a post-screening discussion of Ryan’s life and career with Matthew Hoffman of Park Ridge Classic Film; Lisa Ryan, the actor’s daughter; and J.R. Jones, film editor the Chicago Reader and author of the new biography The Lives of Robert Ryan. The screening is at 12:00 pm on Sunday, May 31. Tickets cost $10.
View a timeline highlighting Ryan's filmography.