Sinister Cinema: The Woman Chaser

Joe McSpadden, producer for 1999’s The Woman Chaser, mentioned that the December 7 showing in the Alamo Drafthouse put the movie on the largest screen ever — swell deal for cineastes.

Above, a still frame of star Patrick Warburton as Richard Hudson gives you an idea of the scale. I think the guy standing on the front stage is Alamo booker Jake Isgar, but he’s kind of small and it’s hard to tell.

Joe popped me a note to ask if I wanted to attend and join in on a Q&A session after the film. The Woman Chaser is based, very closely, on the Charles Willeford novel. I figured most of the questions would be about the movie, but just in case someone had a query about Willeford, I could pipe up. At least mention his name — at least have someone who actually knew Willeford there for totemic purposes.

I met Joe back in 2009 when he flew in for a screening of Woman Chaser in the Pacific Film Archive. PFA had a mini-series going called One-Two Punch: Pulp Writers on Film. I did an intro for the film of Miami Blues on February 19, then on the 28th did Chaser. Only one other movie version of a Willeford novel was out by then — Warren Oates in Cockfighter — and only one more has come out since.

Even better than having the large screen to run the movie, Patrick Warburton came up from Tinseltown to Q&A and hang out. One of my faves for years now (The Tick, baby). Equal, at least, to getting to meet Fred Ward, star of Miami Blues, but with much more time to savor anecdotes. Lots of anecdotes.

I hadn’t been to this incarnation of Alamo Drafthouse before, but when I located the info that it was on Mission between 21st and 22nd I thought, it must be in the New Mission Theatre. Yep. Look for the glaring New Mission exterior blade signage. Can’t miss it, but the Alamo posters are kind of small.

Last time I recall noticing it, New Mission had been closed for awhile, so I was happy to see it back in action. Alamo features seat-side drinks and food, they even have their own bar where you can hobnob with Joe and Patrick. I loved it — might not trade my long years haunting little art house theatres in San Francisco, but the food was great. If I lived across the street, I’d be there every night.

And as soon as the screening wrapped, the Q&A — left to right below, me, Joe, Patrick as panelists, with Jake Isgar doing the moderating:

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