peterbogdanovich Peter Bogdanovich
Blogdanovich is the blog of director, producer, writer, actor, film critic, and author Peter Bogdanovich. He has directed over 25 feature films including international award winners The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, Daisy Miller, Saint Jack, Mask; cult favorites Targets, Texasville, Noises Off, They All Laughed, and A The Thing Called Love, among stars he’s introduced: Cybill Shepherd, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Ritter, Sandra Bullock; has directed stars Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Michael Caine, Cher; best-sellers Who the Devil Made It: Who the Hell's In It, The Killing of the Unicorn; standard texts John Ford, This is Orson Welles; and was a recurring guest-star on the popular HBO series The Sopranos.

Peter Bogdanovich

Broken Blossoms

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 30, 2010 3:07 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Between the ages of 18 and 31, I saw thirty-four films directed by David Wark Griffith, generally acknowledged as the first great American filmmaker, if not the first truly epochal director in the world. As a child I had seen perhaps one or two of his movies when my father took me by the hand to the Museum of Modern Art. But in those years during which I went from enthusiast to student to apprentice to professional, I realized that, as is often said, it was in fact true that between 1908 (thirteen years after the first brief projected films) and 1925—-D.W. Griffith had pretty much done it all: established the entire popular vocabulary of cinema, and elaborated on it brilliantly and with global impact. Then along came Ernst Lubitsch from Europe—-as in: first there was Bach and then there was Mozart. Within six years, Griffith’s career was over. But twelve years before that, for his fourteenth feature—-after literally hundreds of two- or three-reel masterpieces—-he directed, produced, co-wrote and scored one of his most haunting and singular works, among the few cinematic poems ever made, his 1919 tragic romance, BROKEN BLOSSOMS (available on DVD).

Ninotchka

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 22, 2010 7:12 AM
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  • 6 Comments
In 1939, MGM released an effervescent, lightly satirical romantic comedy called NINOTCHKA (available on DVD) which ranks well among the enduring delights of American cinema, yet virtually all its makers were heavily accented Europeans: a Swedish superstar, Greta Garbo; a Polish-German director-producer, Ernst Lubitsch; two Viennese scenarists, Billy Wilder and Walter Reisch; a Hungarian story-writer, Melchoir Lengyel; a German composer, Werner Heymann; Prussian, Hungarian and German supporting actors, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, and Sig Ruman. While the picture is about Russian aristocrats and communists (seduced by the Western world) in Paris, it was shot entirely in Culver City, California, and the closest anyone got to Russia was co-star Melvyn Douglas’s father, a Russian-born concert pianist. Among the other above-the-line talent, only Irish-descended supporting actress Ina Claire, and witty, sophisticated co-screenwriter Charles Brackett were born in the U.S.A.

Blake Edwards

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 18, 2010 7:29 AM
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  • 17 Comments
“How do you thank someone for a million laughs?” With the passing of Blake Edwards, one of the very last survivors of the golden age of pictures has gone. At 88, he had seen the whole parade: his grandfather was a silent film director, his father was in the business, and Blake started out as an actor in the l940s, eventually turned to screenwriting---quite successfully---and then to directing in the mid-l950s. Over the years, he had an impressive array of popular and superbly made pictures, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s (probably Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic appearance), Operation Petticoat (Cary Grant’s biggest box office hit), 10 (which made Dudley Moore a superstar), S.O.B. (which bared wife Julie Andrews’ breasts and skewered Hollywood mercilessly), Victor/Victoria (a taboo-breaking gender-bending farce that he transferred successfully to Broadway as a musical), and, of course, the glorious Pink Panther series that started in the l960s and ran throughout the l970s (giving Peter Sellers his most devastatingly funny incarnation as the hopelessly bumbling Inspector Clouseau).

The Art of Buster Keaton

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 12, 2010 6:32 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Between 1914 and 1928, people laughed longer, louder, and more often than at any other time in history. The reason why is that during those fourteen extremely turbulent years in the world, a group of comic geniuses did things on the movie screen that were more elaborately conceived for comedy, more brilliantly constructed for laughs, and, simply, funnier than anything ever done—-before or since.

JOHN FORD AT THE OBSERVER IN 1999

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 7, 2010 3:47 AM
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  • 8 Comments
In 1999, AMC was still honoring its original name and intention by running actual American Movie Classics on their channel---what TCM does now--- and that year they programmed an amazing 35-film retrospective of John Ford’s extraordinary opus. I was living in Manhattan then, doing a weekly column for Peter Kaplan’s The New York Observer (its heyday, in other words), and Peter and I agreed we should do a big spread about the AMC Ford tribute. I would write it and he would use many illustrations and give it a lot of prominence. It was also Kaplan’s idea to include in the illustrations several of my original movie card-file cards themselves. As I’ve written before, I kept a card file of every movie I saw---of whatever length---from January 1952 to December 1970; from when I was 12 and a half to when I was 31 and a half, and had just finished shooting “The Last Picture Show”. I stopped keeping the file because I guess I felt my apprenticeship had definitely come to end.

The Return of the Pink Panther

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • December 5, 2010 7:47 AM
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  • 12 Comments
I have to confess I’m a sucker for good visual slapstick, a riotous and difficult art which actually reached its peak on the screen in the era of non-talking pictures, circa 1915-1928: the glory days of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Laurel and Hardy, to name only the absolute best. Since sound, there have been terrific isolated moments or scenes in films directed by Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Leo McCarey, Preston Sturges, Frank Tashlin, and Jerry Lewis, among others, not to mention the Warner Bros. cartoons of such slapstick comedy geniuses as Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng. But in more recent years, the most consistently effective practitioner of the form has been Blake Edwards, specifically in his series of Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers as the Homerically incompetent and bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

CARY GRANT: MY FAVORITE STAR

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 30, 2010 11:43 AM
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  • 6 Comments
A few years ago, I did a long piece for The New York Observer about Cary Grant titled “My Favorite Star,” which he was and is, not only on the screen but in life, as I was privileged to know him for over twenty-five years. I had already written about him at some length, first for a column I had in Esquire in the 1970s (collected in a book of mine called Pieces of Time), and then again for a more recent volume, Who the Hell’s In It, which repeated some of the same material, though completely recast. The Observer article went over a lot of the same ground, but perhaps with a different tone, and did add a few things (such as his especially touching call to me after the murder of my fiancée, Dorothy Stratten). Anyway, one can never say too much about Cary Grant, so we have provided a link here to the Observer piece which is on their website.

One-Eyed Jacks

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 28, 2010 7:55 AM
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  • 13 Comments
People who used to do Marlon Brando impressions (I was one of them) always did him in his 1950’s pictures (Streetcar, Zapata, Caesar, Wild One, Waterfront, Guys and Dolls, Sayonara were the most prevalent) and, until The Godfather in 1972 replaced most of these, the last movie anyone imitated Brando from was the single one he also directed (and produced)—-that unsuccessful, but nevertheless memorably original 1961 Technicolor Western drama with the terrific title, ONE-EYED JACKS (available on DVD).

The Golden Age of American Talkies: 1929

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 23, 2010 2:18 AM
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  • 6 Comments
1929-1962

THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN TALKIES: 1930

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 21, 2010 1:29 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg)The Dawn Patrol (Howard Hawks)Monte Carlo (Ernst Lubitsch)Morocco (Josef von Sternberg)Not So Dumb (King Vidor)Liliom (Frank Borzage)Part Time Wife (Leo McCarey)Murder! (Alfred Hitchcock)The Royal Family of Broadway (George Cukor)Laughter (Harry D’Arrast)All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone)Juno and the Paycock (Alfred Hitchcock)Abraham Lincoln (D.W. Griffith)Rain or Shine (Frank Capra)The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh)Up the River (John Ford)Madam Satan (Cecil B. DeMille)Let’s Go Native (Leo McCarey)The Virtuous Sin (George Cukor)Men Without Women (John Ford)

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