Last Picture Show

( 5 )

Overview

Produced by Hollywood iconoclast BBS Productions, film critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film pays homage to Hollywood's classical age as it chronicles generational rites of passage in Anarene, a fictional one-horse Texas town. In 1951, high school seniors Sonny Timothy Bottoms and Duane Jeff Bridges play football, go to the movies at the Royal Theater, hang out at the pool hall owned by local elder statesman Sam the Lion Ben Johnson, and lust after rich tease Jacy Farrow Cybill Shepherd in her film...
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Overview

Produced by Hollywood iconoclast BBS Productions, film critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film pays homage to Hollywood's classical age as it chronicles generational rites of passage in Anarene, a fictional one-horse Texas town. In 1951, high school seniors Sonny Timothy Bottoms and Duane Jeff Bridges play football, go to the movies at the Royal Theater, hang out at the pool hall owned by local elder statesman Sam the Lion Ben Johnson, and lust after rich tease Jacy Farrow Cybill Shepherd in her film debut. As the year passes, Sonny learns about the pitfalls and compromises of adulthood through an affair with his coach's wife Ruth Cloris Leachman and a thwarted elopement with Jacy after she dumps Duane. Following two tragic deaths, and with Duane gone to Korea and Jacy packed off to college in Dallas, Sonny is left behind in Anarene, wise enough to absorb the life lessons of Sam the Lion and Jacy's mother Lois Ellen Burstyn. He is determined to honor Sam's legacy as the town's conscience, despite a telling sign of incipient communal disintegration: the closing of the Royal Theater after a final showing of Howard Hawks's Red River. Paying tribute to classical Hollywood directors like Hawks and John Ford, Bogdanovich used old-time cinematographer Robert Surtees and shot The Last Picture Show in crisp black-and-white, with a restrained style devoid of the kind of "new wave" techniques jump cuts, zooms, and jittery hand-held camerawork used by such contemporaries as Arthur Penn, Robert Altman, Mike Nichols, and Martin Scorsese. As in such Ford films as The Grapes of Wrath 1940, Bogdanovich relies on careful visual composition in deep focus to help communicate the regret over the passing of an era. Hailed as one of the best films by a young director since Citizen Kane 1941, The Last Picture Show premiered at the New York Film Festival and went on to become a hit. It was also nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Larry McMurtry's and Bogdanovich's adaptation of McMurtry's novel. John Ford stalwart Johnson won Supporting Actor and Leachman won Supporting Actress, beating out their cohorts Bridges and Burstyn. For an audience steeped in movie history and caught up in the chaotic 1971 present, The Last Picture Show presented a nostalgic look backward that was not so much an escape from the present as a coming to terms with what the present had lost. Its 1990 sequel Texasville, in which Bridges and Shepherd played later incarnations of their original characters, was not as successful.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Of the new wave of young American directors who emerged in the early 1970s, Peter Bogdanovich displayed the strongest affinity for the Old Masters of Hollywood's Golden Era, particularly Howard Hawks and John Ford, and The Last Picture Show drew more consciously and effectively from their styles than any other film of its day. With its sharply defined black-and-white framing and simple, straightforward camera setups, The Last Picture Show resembles a classic Hawks or Ford picture; but, while those directors used their techniques to tell sweeping tales of the American frontier, Bogdanovich instead examined a tiny Texas town crumbling into dust in the early 1950s. In The Last Picture Show, the cowboys, Indians, and settlers of Stagecoach or Red River have been replaced by wealthy but ineffectual oilmen with bored wives, and high school kids looking for excitement or a future in a town that offers neither. The sole strong adult role model, Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson, a member of Ford's stock company), is a scruffy misfit showing his age and losing his health; if he's the town's last tie to the strong and noble men of the Old West, he's also decaying as fast as the town itself. Anarene has been reduced to a dusty little Peyton Place, where everyone knows everyone else's sordid little secrets and sexual peccadilloes; when Sam the Lion dies, the town loses its last pillar of dignity, with the later closing of the town's only movie house (where Red River is the last feature) serving as the most obvious symbol of its slow, inexorable decline. The strongest people are the ones who can leave, while those who stay behind follow a circle of heartbreak and romantic betrayals. "You can't believe how this town has changed," Sam says at one point to Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms), always the boy who needed his guidance the most, and Johnson gives those words a rueful weight that makes it one of the most telling moments of this sad, sometimes funny, and deeply moving film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/1994
  • UPC: 043396504233
  • Original Release: 1971
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Timothy Bottoms Sonny Crawford
Jeff Bridges Duane Jackson
Cybill Shepherd Jacy Farrow
Ben Johnson Sam The Lion
Cloris Leachman Ruth Popper
Ellen Burstyn Lois Farrow
Randy Quaid Lester Marlow
John Hillerman Teacher
Barclay Doyle Joe Bob Blanton
Joye Hash Mrs. Jackson
Charlie Seybert Andy Fanner
Kimberly Hyde Annie-Annie Martin
Noble Willingham Chester
Gordon Hurst Monroe
Frank Marshall Tommy Logan
Tom Martin Larry
Antonia Bogdanovich Singer (uncredited)
Eileen Brennan Genevieve
Clu Gulager Abilene
Sharon Taggart Charlene Duggs
Joe Heathcock The Sheriff
Bill Thurman Coach Popper
Jessie Lee Fulton Miss Mosey
Gary Brockette Bobby Sheen
Helena Humann Jimmie Sue
Loyd Catlett Leroy
Robert Glenn Gene Farrow
Samuel Bottoms Billy
Technical Credits
Peter Bogdanovich Director, Screenwriter
Ross Brown Casting
Donn Cambern Editor
Vince Cresciman Production Designer
Stephen Friedman Producer
Walter Scott Herndon Art Director
Nancy McArdle Costumes/Costume Designer
Larry McMurtry Screenwriter
Polly Platt Production Designer
Robert Rubin Asst. Director
Harold Schneider Associate Producer
Bert Schneider Executive Producer
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hey -- It's a classic

    This movie is right up there with "Casablanca", a classic that you need to see at some time. I really enjoy it, but know people who hate it and most kids seem to find it boring. It's worth it just to see Cybill Sheppard and Jeff Bridges in their first movie, and Timothy Bottoms when he actually bothered to act. The choice of black-and-white is searingly effective. Cool extra point -- the film (and the sequel, "Texasville") was shot in the actual locale (Archer City, TX) for which the book was written, so if you're north of Dallas sometime, drive-around the "set" and visit the places seen in the movie, eat curly fries at the Dairy Queen, and possibly meet the author, Larry McMurty, at his bookstores.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unforgettable experience!

    Being the one who's researching on Larry McMurtry,i cannot miss this black and white flick of his!As a research scholar i enjoyed the novel as much as the movie.One can relate to oneself the events happening in Sonny Crawford and Duane.The coming of age theme of the movie is close to reality and is well accepted by the audience.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The only thing missing is a plot.

    Maybe I'm missing something here. Maybe I expected a 'sensitive, stark documentary masterpiece' about small-town life in the early 1950's. At least that's what the other reviews say it is. Maybe that's what it could have been. Maybe that's what I wish it WOULD have been. But such is not the case. This film should rightfully have been called 'Countless Preludes to Sex'. Certainly the script writers had an easy job on this one, as the flim contains so little actual dialogue - it's quite difficult, I understand, for an actor to speak lines while having his lips pressed against those of another actor. And that's what constitutes the bulk of this film. One is lucky to get even five minutes of other footage between shots of characters dressing and undressing. Characters fondling and petting. Characters necking and cooing. Characters in the bed, on the sofa, in the back seat, in the front seat, on the pool table. It matters not where, anyplace seems to be fair game for a round of tonsil hockey. It gets old. It gets old fast. I'm just thankful I didn't plunk down ticket money for this 30 years ago, because I'd have walked out and demanded a refund. Two stars - one for the cinematography, and one for the sound track. And that's it, folks. If you want a film full of small-town angst and pettiness, don't bother with this - just get it's older, wiser brother, Peyton Place.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews