Reviews

The Last Picture Show

5

Peter Bogdanovich's desolate Texan drama is still as stunning now as it was in 1971

The Last Picture Show review

Peter Bogdanovich’s promising directorial career eventually went into steep decline, but he’ll always hold a place in the pantheon for this, his 1971 second movie.

Skilfully adapted from a novel by Larry McMurtry (who co-screenwrote this and Brokeback Mountain), it’s a heartfelt study of young people growing up in a rundown Texas township in the early ’50s.

The period detail’s flawless, with Robert Surtees’ widescreen black-and-white framings capturing the flat, windswept vistas in all their desolation.

Meanwhile the acting – especially by Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman and a young Jeff Bridges (who banked his first Oscar nod) – cuts to the quick.

A worthy tribute to Bogdanovich’s idols, Orson Welles and John Ford.
 

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