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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

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)

Five Easy Pieces

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 14, 2010 4:01 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Heralding the explosion of the New Hollywood—-half a decade after the conclusive fall of the old studio system—-were three successful, independent, small-budget, personal films of a kind not seen before in American pictures: In 1968, John Cassavetes’ brilliant Faces, shot in his own house and backyard in grainy black-and-white with explosively real and honest performances; in 1969, the Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper counter-culture triumph, Easy Rider, which first set up Jack Nicholson, and which became an enduring pop-culture icon; and in 1970, the movie that not only assured Nicholson’s ascendance to major stardom but made him an emblem of his generation, directed by one of the producers of Easy Rider: Bob Rafelson’s disturbing and memorable, peculiarly American tragedy, FIVE EASY PIECES (available on DVD).

M

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 7, 2010 4:25 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The film with the shortest title in movie history is also among the most powerful ever seen: Fritz Lang’s devastating 1931 German-made thriller about a psychopathic child-murderer played with extraordinarily feverish intensity by Peter Lorre: M (available on DVD), the single letter standing for “murderer.” Released during only the third year of full sound, the picture has in common with certain others of this early talking period (1929-1933) a profoundly exciting use of silent-picture technique at its best combined with innovative and remarkably imaginative use of sound. Such masters of visual story-telling as Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, Rene Clair and Howard Hawks, made the transition with a flair and abandon not really to be seen quite so vividly again. In very different ways, pictures like Lubitsch’s The Smiling Lieutenant, Clair’s A Nous La Liberté, Hawks’ original Scarface, and M share an unconventional spirit of daring experimentation.

Moguls and Movie Stars

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 2, 2010 3:48 AM
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  • 8 Comments
TCM’s 7-hour documentary, Moguls and Movie Stars, which began running today, is a sincere, engrossing and generally very well executed history of Hollywood, focused largely on the business side---the moguls and the studios---rather than the movie stars and directors. It is rich in facts and details about the beginnings of the movies, going from the primitive early work of the Lumiere brothers and Edison, and running with equal interest all the way through the rise and fall of the studio system. Christopher Plummer narrates with warm authority, and the whole endeavor is certainly worth the effort to see all seven hours. Of course, another seven hours---or twice that--- could valuably be spent documenting the artistic history of Hollywood, and perhaps TCM has such plans up its sleeve. One way or the other, what they do over at Turner Classic Movies is essential to the health of moving picture history, virtually the lone TV voice in the wilderness of film culture in our country, which has contributed so enormously, so memorably to this precious medium. (Complete disclosure: I am one of the vast number of people interviewed for this epic documentary.)

Psycho

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • October 31, 2010 3:15 AM
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  • 11 Comments
In June, 1960, when Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (available on DVD) first opened in New York, neither the public nor the press had any idea what it was about. Contrary to all accepted policy, there were no advance screenings, and no synopsis or story outline was supplied to critics or reporters. The very first time the media saw the movie was the same morning the public did—-the 10:00 a.m. running at the (now long gone) DeMille Theater at 47th Street and Broadway. One thousand eager paying customers filled the downstairs, and five hundred members of the press were in the balcony—-myself included. It was the single most memorable performance of a film I’ve ever attended. Not the most pleasant one.

The Band Wagon

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • October 24, 2010 6:39 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Of all the many musicals Fred Astaire was in, the very best for my money is one of his last; he appeared in only four others afterward. And it’s among the most delightful, witty and charming in the genre’s history---Vincente Minnelli’s comic 1953 ode to show biz, THE BAND WAGON (available on DVD). The title is a tip of the hat to one of Astaire’s first successes, the 1931 Broadway show he did with his sister Adele; but only the name was borrowed since the movie is a totally new creation conceived and written by that hip and unpretentious, brilliantly inventive team of musical comedy wizards, Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in the Rain, On the Town, Bells Are Ringing, etc.).

They Were Expendable

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • October 17, 2010 4:22 AM
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  • 13 Comments
Most war films are, ultimately, about winning. In 1945, however, as World War II was ending, John Ford made probably the finest U.S. war picture, about one of America’s greatest defeats—-in the Philippines—-the title of which alone is devastating in its implications: THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (available on DVD). Ford, who had entered the Navy in 1941, at age 47, was closely involved in numerous missions and operations all through the War, serving with the O.S.S. (forerunner of the C.I.A.) and making several war documentaries, including this country’s first one, The Battle of Midway (1942), which mostly he himself shot hand-held and during which he was wounded. It received the Oscar as Best Documentary, as did another that Ford supervised, December 7th (1943). Although he rarely spoke of his war experiences, records recently have come to light that he also was there on D-Day, and shot some of the most significant color footage in various campaigns. Certainly his intimate involvement with all aspects of that terrible conflict is apparent in his sensitively unadorned, elegiac handling of They Were Expendable. “What was in my mind,” Ford told me once, “was doing it exactly as it had happened.”

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