In the first moments of 1957's The Bachelor Party, a young woman calls her mother with happy news of a pregnancy. The woman's husband is in the room with her, but to him the news is less happy. Then they discuss his plans for the evening. These bachelor parties get kinda wild sometimes, he keeps saying. His wife can't see the anguish in his eyes — a rather modern-seeming anguish for 1957, it must be said — but we can because it's clear that the story at hand will be his, and the reason it's clear is that he's played by Don Murray. Does the name not ring a bell? Fair enough. At the Roxie, where a Murray retrospective plays this weekend, he is called the best American actor you've never heard of. The evidence of the selected films shows that Murray's has been an undistinguished career full of distinguished performances. “These are troubled times,” says his character, a cop, in the first moments of 1976's Deadly Hero — rather modern-seeming troubled times, it must be said — before whipping out his pistol and pointing it right at us. This must be the Murray way: After even a glimpse of movies like these, and better late than never, you'll remember his name.
July 11-13, 7:30 p.m., 2014