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

The Student Prince (In Old Heidelberg)

  • December 9, 2011 12:30 PM
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Since for me the Polish-German master Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947), once internationally famous for his “Lubitsch Touch,” is high among the ten best and most influential picture-makers of the western world--one to whose work I gravitate even more as I get older--it follows that if there happens to be a Lubitsch film on TV (more than likely TCM), it’s almost automatically the best movie of the week.  Based on the famous Sigmund Romberg operetta, 1927’s THE STUDENT PRINCE (In Old Heidelberg) [available, shamefully, only on VHS], one of Lubitsch’s last silent pictures, is not really typical of him--being neither a romantic comedy nor an historical drama--but rather an extremely moving sad love story. But the “Touch” is so present throughout, no one else could have made this picture: a lightly told and devastating romantic heartbreaker. It is an underappreciated work of Lubitsch’s, yet it is among his very best, coming just at the end of the glorious silent era. As Charlie Chaplin said of that lost period: “Just when we got it right, it was over.”

Hail the Conquering Hero

  • November 30, 2011 12:37 PM
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As questions of morality, ethics and honor in our society become ever more ambiguous, it might be salutary to see an American comedy of the highest order dealing with these troubling issues, made while World War II was daily in a different way bringing them vividly to the fore. During 1944, the inimitable Preston Sturges wrote and directed one of his most enduring works with these themes: HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (available on DVD). It was the seventh picture in that most extraordinary run of eight consecutive movies over four years, all brilliantly conceived, written and directed by Sturges (here’s the Link to a piece I did on this very special picturemaker years ago).

Comanche Station

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 14, 2011 11:06 AM
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Among hip Western connoisseurs both here and abroad, there have been four really memorable, artistically consistent director-star series in the genre’s sound era: eight John Ford-John Wayne features (from Stagecoach to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance); four Howard Hawks-Wayne pictures (including Red River and Rio Bravo); five Anthony Mann-James Stewart sagas (from Winchester ‘73 to The Man from Laramie); and seven intimate ones from Budd Boetticher-Randolph Scott.

Sadie Thompson

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • November 3, 2011 10:28 AM
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  • 2 Comments

The Champ

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • October 13, 2011 7:22 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Shock Corridor

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • October 5, 2011 4:26 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Destry Rides Again

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • September 28, 2011 4:28 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Bluebeard

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • September 21, 2011 11:27 AM
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The career of director Edgar G. Ulmer, one of diehard film buffs’ major cult favorites, is an object lesson in the triumph of talent, courage, ingenuity and passion over time and money. Ulmer rarely had more than a minuscule budget and six days to shoot an entire feature; this is one to two days shorter than TV directors today are given to film a one-hour (actually more like 48-minute) series episode. The discipline and resourcefulness required to be able to turn out any sort of full-length product in that short a time is impressive by itself, forget about also revealing a strong personality and an often vivid style as Ulmer did repeatedly in numerous Poverty Row classics like the nightmarish Detour (1946), or the uncompromising Ruthless (1948), or the remarkably atmospheric period horror tale of 19th century Paris, 1944’s BLUEBEARD (available on DVD). The star is the legendary patriarch of one of our most enduring acting families, John Carradine, in a role he always ranked high among his best.

The Birds

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • September 14, 2011 12:43 PM
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The special edition of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 Judgment Day thriller, The Birds (available on DVD), carries not only various production notes, cut scenes from the script, storyboard sketches, trailers, other promotional footage, Tippi Hedren's screen tests--with actor Martin Balsam, and with Hitchcock's off-camera voice directing and kidding around--but also an eighty-minute documentary that goes into enormous and fascinating detail about how this technically most difficult picture was made 48 years ago. Long before computer generated images were even dreamed of, Hitchcock conceived a production so challenging that he himself knew never to raise the issue, "Can it be done?" Because, he told me at the time, "Then it would never have been made. Any technician would have said 'impossible.' So I didn't ever bring that up, I simply said, 'Here's what we’re going to do.'"

The Dirty Dozen

  • By Peter Bogdanovich
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  • September 7, 2011 3:54 AM
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  • 5 Comments
One of Robert Aldrich’s most subversive (and financially most successful) films is his 1967 color and wide-screen World War II saga of legalized criminality, THE DIRTY DOZEN (available on DVD). Aldrich had first dealt with this war eleven years earlier in his violently gripping cult picture, Attack! (1956), which featured the brilliant Lee Marvin in a strong supporting role. In The Dirty Dozen, Marvin takes the lead, playing--with his usual restrained gusto--a maverick major who recruits twelve condemned soldier-misfits for a suicidal mission behind enemy lines; if they survive, they’ll be reprieved.

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