Often described as having "movie star good looks," John Loose's career began in the 1960's working as a professional actor. Early in his career, Loose performed onstage with Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, and Thomas Mitchell. He also crossed paths with Joan Bennett, Rosalind Russell, and Maureen O'Sullivan.
Loose transitioned to education in the 1970's, serving as a lecturer in film and television studies at Rutgers University. He arrived at Regis in September 1978 and spent the ensuing 35 years as the school's film teacher, teaching countless Regis students until his retirement last year.
John Loose's film course focused on studying films in their connection to the American history sequence that all students study in their sophomore year. The course enriched the American Studies interdisciplinary thread that the History and English departments have sustained for over 20 years.
In addition to his film course for sophomores, Loose taught an elective to seniors interested in pursuing the study of film. That elective allowed students to create their own original works, or deepen their understanding of a particular director's work or films of a certain genre.
Loose had a life-long passion for issues of social and economic justice. In his youth, he worked in Latin America with local, grassroots organizers trying to improve life for the poor. He maintained a passionate concern for evolving political and social issues. He brought those concerns to his classes through an analysis of film that probed the political dimensions of popular American movies—both what they revealed and concealed about this nation and its relation to the rest of the world. The films he chose for his class and their subject matter ran the gamut—from the Texas-Indian-Wars backdrop in the 1956 John Wayne western The Searchers (written by Frank Nugent '26), to the World War II setting in the classic 1942 romantic drama Casablanca, to the 1982 Vietnam P.O.W. action film Rambo: First Blood. And of course, Loose intertwined countless Alfred Hitchcock classics throughout any given year of study.
In addition to great film, Loose loved to travel, especially to London, Venice, and Spain. He admired all great art, with Goya and Vermeer among his favorites. Among his favorite film directors were Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and Luis Bunuel.
While the variety of films studied varied tremendously, there was an educational and historic purpose behind each film Loose chose to analyze with students. For those students fortunate to have studied film under the guidance of John Loose, including the current junior and senior classes at Regis, these films will always be viewed through a more critical and insightful lens.
Regis High School will host a memorial mass for John Loose on Wednesday, December 4 in the Regis Chapel at 8:00am.
Click here to read two alumni reflections on John Loose.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.