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Posts Tagged ‘Archer City’

Just two weeks ago on my cross country driving trip I drove through Wichita Falls. That north Texas town has been on my radar for decades because it’s near where director and screenwriter Peter Bogdanovich shot The Last Picture Show (1971). I believe Archer City was the stand-in for the small dying oil town based on Larry McMurtry’s novel. You don’t need to be too far out of Dallas heading north on Route 287 to be transported back in time in the mesmerizing wide open spaces of Texas. But the majestic blue sky I witnessed is a stark contrast to the black and white vision Bogdanovich used in The Last Picture Show. (One said to be encouraged by Orson Welles.)

When I heard yesterday that Bogdanovich died, the film of his I thought of was The Last Picture Show. When I heard today that Sidney Poitier died the film I thought about was A Raisin in the Sun (1961). Next week I’ll re-visit posts I’ve written on both films. But today I’ll leave you with a photo I took in downtown Wichita Falls of what was originally The Wichita Theater built in 1908. The renovated theatre is now the Wichita Theatre Performing Arts Centre. It was originally an opera house, but in 1939 it opened as a renovated movie theater. I’d like to think that both A Raisin in the Sun and The Last Picture Show once played there. And perhaps it’s where the cast and crew hung out during downtime while making The Last Picture Show.

P.S. Because part of this blog is about places as well as screenwriting and filmmaking, you can get a great snap shot of American history and culture by watching The Last Picture Show and A Raisin in the Sun back to back.

Scott W. Smith is the author of Screenwriting with Brass Knuckles

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