Like most of his peers, brilliant first-year Harvard law student James Hart (Bottoms) lives in fear and awe of crusty, demanding, no-nonsense Professor Kingsfield (Houseman). Seeking the great man's favor and respect proves challenging for this ambitious attorney-in-training, particularly after James falls for Kingsfield's daughter, Susan (Wagner). Will our hero earn a passing grade?
At a time of heightened competitiveness in academia, James Bridges's "Chase" makes for incisive, relevant viewing. Set in one of the most demanding environments — Harvard Law School — the film portrays learning at its most pressurized, where the depth and breadth of the curriculum represents a marathon, testing the brain and body's endurance. Bottoms is wonderful as the student who may be in over his head, but it's Houseman's performance that earns the film a solid A: the former Mercury Theatre producer actually snagged an Oscar for this!