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Communications and Marketing

Chicago Tribune covers ‘Windy City in Motion’ exhibit

Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips covered the head-turning, interactive “Windy City in Motion: Movies and Travel in Chicago” exhibit at Union Station the College has put together with DePaul University.

Union Station exhibit takes a ride through movie history

By Michael Phillips  |  Chicago Tribune

Venture into the secular cathedral that is downtown Union Station’s Great Hall, high-ceilinged star of “The Sting,” “The Untouchables” and other films featuring men in fedoras, and over in one corner you’ll find a modest 10-panel exhibit devoted to Chicago’s transit image in the movies.

What does that mean? It means Cary Grant dressed as a redcap, skulking around LaSalle Street Station accompanied by Eva Marie Saint in “North by Northwest.” It means Chuck Norris, or, rather, Norris’ double, leaping off a moving “L” train into the Chicago River in “Code of Silence.”

These and other cinematic moments get the nod in “Windy City in Motion: Movies and Travel in Chicago,” the new pocket-sized exhibit curated by Rachael Smith and presented by DePaul University and Lake Forest College. It’s free and it’ll take you next to no time to take in — perfect, if you have a train to catch.

DePaul’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development director Joseph Schwieterman was one of many who guided the installation. (Curator Smith works as Chaddick’s program manager.) Schwieterman notes that Amtrak did the exhibit a favor in dedicating a corner of the Great Hall to a mini-celebration of a city’s screen images. One panel features the work of photographer Mike Rotunno; my favorite is his Midway Airport tarmac glam shot of Katharine Hepburn getting off a plane. Elsewhere we see Gregory Peck, in a fedora (of course), with a tight smile as he gets ready to enter Union Station.

A few quibbles, since you asked. I’m not sure any small exhibit on any subject needs 23 exclamation points in its explanatory copy; they tend to make the points sound pushy. Also, regarding Alfred Hitchcock: “Strangers on a Train” was released in 1951, not 1956, and “North by Northwest” was a ’59 release, not ’57.

A section dealing with “Devil in the White City” is tantalizing, as is the video segment on the music introduced to Chicago (and patronized in the press) by the 1893 Columbian Exposition. But this subject cries out for its own, larger treatment.

Still, as a primer designed for visitors and natives alike, “Windy City in Motion” offers a fast, fond look back. And curator Smith is right: She describes the Great Hall itself as “one of America’s grandest interior spaces.”

The address: 225 S. Canal St. An opening reception is planned for 4:45 to 6 p.m. Sept. 13. For more information on the exhibit, go to depaulne.ws/windycitychaddick.