The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971) wr. Larry McMurtry (from his novel), Peter Bogdanovich; Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Chloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, Clu Gulager, Sam Bottoms, Timothy Bottoms, Sharon Ullrick, Randy Quaid
In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.
This was Peter Bogdanovich's second significant feature, after the excellent Targets (1968, with Boris Karloff), which is not heard much of these days, unfortunately. In between he had done interviews for a doco which appeared as Directed by John Ford in 1971, showing another Bogdanovich persona - as film historian.
This has always been one of my personal favourite films, I suppose because it successfully and simply brings together the story of a small community, family dramas, and the cinema as a social institution. It's also a Texas story: I seem always to have liked films set in Texas, as I wrote in my note on Hell or High Water (also starring Jeff Bridges).
The novel was written by Larry McMurtry. He also wrote a sequel called Texasville which Bogdanovitch also made into a film (1990) but which was not successful. Indeed nothing he's done since his 1971 masterpiece has done all that well. I think (not entirely seriously) that it's his punishment for leaving his production-designer wife Polly Platt during the shooting of LPS to get off with that Cybill Shepherd: everything has gone downhill since then. [Digression: Larry's son James McMurtry is a great singer-songwriter, imo.]
Garry Gillard | New: 25 March, 2017 | Now: 28 March, 2020