Text from Coolidge Corner website:
Among the most important films from the post-war American independent scene are Lionel Rogosin’s On the Bowery and Come Back, Africa — two incredible documents of bygone eras that still resonate today. From the beginning, Rogosin’s style as an independent filmmaker was straightforward and compassionate. His films, made “from the inside” showed the subjects he chose in their normal surroundings and allowed them to speak in their own words. By choosing ordinary people caught up in universal problems — homelessness, racial discrimination, war and peace, labor relations, and poverty — Rogosin made his point poignantly. The Oscar®-nominated On the Bowery is a masterpiece of the American blend of documentary/fiction.
On the Bowery chronicles three days on New York’s skid row, the Bowery. In the early part of the 19th century, it was an elegant place of large mansions and respectable theater. When the elevated trains came in, it covered the street in darkness and the Bowery soon became known as the place for low rents and cheap drinks.
Ray Salyer, the main character of the film, was a war veteran who became well-known for his role in On the Bowery and was offered parts in Hollywood movies. But deciding that drink was more important, one night he just hopped a train and was never heard from again. His fate is one of the great mysteries of cinema.
On The Bowery has been showing for a few days, but tonight and tomorrow are the last two nights of its run @ the Coolidge. Find yourself a way into one of the Coolidge’s comfortable seats pronto!