Peter Bogdanovich

PB & muse >

I have a hypothesis that PB's career was significant only for the first four films released under his name as director (Targets, The Last Picture Show, What's Up Doc?, and Paper Moon), and that there is a connexion with his first wife, Polly Platt, in their success.

In my opinion, those first four films are very good, unlike anything he's ever done since. I admit I've only seen Saint Jack, Mask, Texasville, and Noises Off, of the later films, but they're all bad.

Polly Platt (1939-2011) was married to PB 1962-1971. They had two children. She was production designer (and uncredited costume designer) on Targets, The LPS, What's Up, and Paper Moon - a project which she recommended to PB. She got a 'special thanks' for Texasville, but it didn't help the film, which is very disappointing.

These notes from Wikipedia throw light on Platt's influence on PB re Paper Moon.

The film project was originally associated with John Huston and was to star Paul Newman and his daughter, Nell Potts. However, when Huston left the project, the Newmans became dissociated from the film as well. Peter Bogdanovich had just completed What's Up, Doc? and was looking for another project when his ex-wife and frequent collaborator Polly Platt recommended filming Joe David Brown's script for the novel Addie Pray. Bogdanovich, a fan of period films, and having two young daughters of his own, found himself drawn to the story, and selected it as his next film. At the suggestion of Polly Platt, Bogdanovich approached eight-year-old Tatum O'Neal to audition for the role although she had no acting experience. Bogdanovich had recently worked with Tatum's father Ryan O'Neal on What's Up, Doc?, and decided to cast them as the leads.

I wrote the following 20 June 2009 in a blog that no longer exists.

One way to sum up PB’s career is with the Wellesian cliche: after the first masterpiece it was all downhill.
Targets (1968) is Bogdanovich’s Citizen Kane. It’s a seriously good and important first film. After that he made The Last Picture Show (1971) one of the greatest of all American movies. And then bye-bye PB.
Well, the next film, What’s Up, Doc? (1972) was OK [and I would now add Paper Moon to the 'good' films], but really, you have to wonder if the woman-behind-the-man phenomenon applies again here once, and that he was ratshit after he left his wife and collaborator Polly Platt for a 19-yr-young photographic model, Cybill Shepherd (b. 1950), who has also acted a bit since then.

Targets (Peter Bogdanovich, 1968)
[Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (as Derek Thomas, 1968)]
The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971) novel by Larry McMurtry
What’s Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972) Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, Madeline Kahn
Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich, 1973) Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, Madeline Kahn
... end of significance ...
Daisy Miller (Peter Bogdanovich, 1974) story by Henry James
At Long Last Love (Peter Bogdanovich, 1975)
Nickelodeon (Peter Bogdanovich, 1976)
Saint Jack (Peter Bogdanovich, 1979) Ben Gazzara
They All Laughed (Peter Bogdanovich, 1981)
Mask (Peter Bogdanovich, 1985) Eric Stoltz, Cher
Illegally Yours (Peter Bogdanovich, 1981)
Texasville (Peter Bogdanovich, 1990) sequel to Last Picture Show, novel by Larry McMurtry
Noises Off (Peter Bogdanovich, 1992) from the play by Michael Frayn
The Thing Called Love (Peter Bogdanovich, 1993)
... followed by TV movies and series

References and Links

See also my page about (Australian) film-making couples.

Wikipedia page for Peter Bogdanovich.

IMDb page for Peter Bogdanovich.

Garry Gillard | New: 26 March, 2017 | Now: 17 April, 2020