The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show

classified 15

1971: The Year Hollywood Went Independent


Please note: This was screened in July 2021

Peter Bogdanovich
Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd
126 mins, 1971, USA
Primary language

Peter Bogdanovich and his partner Polly Platt were cinephiles before the term was invented. In their early years together they lived and breathed the cinemas of New York and would later call the older generation of Hollywood filmmakers like Ford, Hawks and Hitchcock friends.

It is no surprise then that Bogdanovich’s first film as director should be an elegy to cinema itself shot in highly evocative black and white cinematography. A film not just about small-town Americana but a self-reflective homage to the passing of a certain kind of American cinema: make sure you look out for what the final film screened is.

His adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s novel has an aching melancholy for the love-lost unfulfilled lives of the older generation of Anarene, Texas – as embodied so poignantly in Cloris Leachman’s character - and the excited, fumbling, uncertain promises of the next - as portrayed with fresh faced unsophisticated energy by a trio of screen newcomers: Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms.

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