THE LAST PICTURE SHOW
dir. Peter Bogdanovich / 1971 / 1hr 58min
In his second feature, shot right after Targets, Peter Bogdanovich, pays tribute to his idols John Ford and Howard Hawks. Based on Larry McMurtry autobiographical book, The Last Picture Show is a coming-of-age story set in Anarene, a dusty, declining Texas town, in 1951 -on the eve of the Korean war and at the beginning of the end of movie houses like the Royal, where local kids go to kiss, grapple and watch John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in Red River.
The film stars an great cast of newcomers (Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepard and Randy Quaid), side to side with veterans like Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson. With its use of new wave” techniques like jump cuts, zooms and jittery hand-held camera work, The Last Picture Show’s careful visual composition garnered Bogdanovich’s dark elegy comparisons with Citizen Kane. Orson Welles was of course another of the young directors’ idols/mentors. It received a total of eight Academy Awards nominations, including best Picture and Best Director, and two wins: Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson, for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
Queens born Edward Burns has written, directed, and starred in 13 feature films, including The Brothers McMullen, the 1955 Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance; She's the One (1996); Sidewalks of New York (2001); The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (2012); and, most recently, Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies (2019). His carefully crafted, sensitive portraits of small town America and suburban life are among the most insightful in contemporary US independent cinema. Burns also wrote, directed, and starred in every episode of the critically acclaimed limited series Public Morals (2015) for TNT, which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg; and also starred in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998).