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Irma P. Hall

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  • A screen's-eye view of Chicago

    Chicago has been involved in filmmaking since the technology's very beginnings in the early 1900s, when some of the world's first movie studios operated here. From those early days, when neighborhood kids would sneak onto the Selig Polyscope Co. lot at Western Avenue and Irving Park Road — many old Selig Westerns include children curiously peeking out from the bushes during shootouts — Chicago has permeated the movies shot here. The iconic Chicago blockbusters of the 1980s, including "The Blues Brothers," "Risky Business" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" along with more recent hits like "The Dark Knight," are imbued with Chicago's presence. Chicago's distinctive look is an integral part of their narrative landscape. And yet the city, much like the mercurial lake which it sits upon, never seems to appear the same way twice. Other, lesser known productions have harnessed Chicago's chameleon-like qualities and showcased areas not normally seen in the more mainstream Hollywood films shot here. Here's a roundup of a few underappreciated movies filmed in the city.