A deliciously smarmy Patrick Warburton saunters through The Woman Chaser, a 1999 curiosity about a used car dealer who tries his hand at filmmaking. On Wednesday, May 10, the rarely seen film will screen at Cinema 21 in 35 mm with Warburton and director Robinson Devor on hand for a Q&A (along with producer Joe McSpadden).
Based on a 1960 pulp novel by Charles Willeford, the 1950s-set movie chronicles the doomed directorial career of Richard Hudson (Warburton), whose debut is a 63-minute polemic about a truck driver who runs over a little girl. As Puddy, Elaine’s lovably pigheaded boyfriend on Seinfeld, Warburton used his deep voice to convey denseness; in The Women Chaser, he becomes a swaggering antihero, recalling the jaded charm of Humphrey Bogart.
Kramer Morgenthau’s slick black-and-white cinematography deepens that impression, though Richard is no Philip Marlowe. Creepily subservient to his mother (Lynette Bennett) and vicious to all other women, he’s at once pathetic and deadly.
Some moviegoers may argue that Devor betrays a morbid fascination with Hollywood misogyny; others may see The Women Chaser as a radically honest artifact of the Weinstein days, a film that said what was then unspeakable. Either way, it’s a must-see for fans of Warburton.
SEE IT: The Women Chaser, rated R, plays at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 503-223-4515, https://www.cinema21.com. 7 pm Wednesday, May 10. $9-$11.