The Last Picture Show (1971)
Never seen this before, it’s considered a classic of 70s cinema but not as well known as, say, Taxi Driver, maybe because Bogdanovich seemed to blow it after this. Either that, or his neck kerchiefs.
A sad, deliberately paced look at small-town life in 1951 Texas. The black and white cinematography is beautiful. You can feel the influence of the French New Wave creeping in around the edges — American films in 1951 weren’t nearly as emotionally frank or morally ambiguous. Kinda strange for Bogdanovich who grew up in Manhattan and idolized John Ford, but it works.
Cloris Leachman, up on the right, got an Oscar for her performance and earned the hell out of it.
Sadly, this is another example of a woman making a substantial contribution and a man hoarding the credit. By all accounts Bogdanovich’s wife Polly Platt co-directed the film but he played down her role, either to make himself seem more of an auteur or to validate the affair he was having with Cybill Shepherd at the time. Even more sad, everyone around them who knew better bought into it.
Still, a fine, melancholy film with no easy answers.
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- skyla79 said: I still haven’t seen it but will take a look. Bogdanovich was involved with that Playboy model who got murdered by her ex-boyfriend and is probably now more known for his role on the Soprano’s as Dr. Melfi’s therapist.
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