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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Bogdanovich’

“[John Wayne’s] visual legacy has defined him as the archetypal man of the American West—bold, innocent, profane, idealistic, wrongheaded, good-hearted, single-minded, quick to action, not given to pretension, essentially alone, ready for any adventure—no matter how grand or daring; larger, finally, than life or death.”
—Peter Bogdanovich in Who the Hell’s in It

As a way to tie in my recent post about writer/director Peter Bogdanovich with my recent holiday trip out west here are a couple of photos from Arches National Park in Utah. I took these two days after Christmas on a quick stop between Grand Junction, Colorado and Provo, Utah. If you’re not from this part of the country and are a cinephile this place just screams old westerns.

Back in the ’60s, when Bogdanovich was still a journalist he met director John Ford when he was shooting Cheyenne Autumn. I’m not sure which location in Utah he was able to observe Ford direct, but part of Cheyenne Autumn was shot in Arches National Park. As were parts of many other films including Thelma & Louise, Indiana Johns and the Last Crusade, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and another John Ford film Fort Apache (which starred John Wayne).

It’s a mesmerizing part of the country.

Ground central for classic Hollywood western films (with its classic buttes) is Monument Valley directly south of Arches about 3 hours. But to show how vast this terrain is, I took the photo below about an hour northwest of Arches just off Interstate 70 near Green River, Utah. I couldn’t pass up the way the light was hitting the mesa. Since the Sundance Film Festival starts tomorrow I’ll talk about the road to Sundance in Utah in my next post.

P.S. I imagine I’ll write more about this later, but if you’re interested in the history of films made in Utah—from The Searchers to 127 Hours to Footloose—check out the excellent book When Hollywood Came to Utah by James D’Arc.

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

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To remember writer/director Peter Bogdanovich I’m going to reach back into a couple of posts I wrote about him in 2012 called The Making of Peter Bogdanovich and The Breaking of Peter Bogdanovich.

The Making of Peter Bogdanovich

There’s a lot to learn from looking back at the journeys that filmmakers take on their way to being a part of film history. In the case of writer/director/actor Peter Bogdanovich, one of the things that jumps out is his education. Not his formal education—he didn’t attend college—but his film & theater education. An education that began as a child. (All of the quotes below are from Bogdanovich himself and pulled from various sources. Marc Maron’s interview with Bogdanovich is excellent.)

Here’s a compressed timeline leading up to Bogdanvich’s film The Last Picture Show. (A film which sits at 95 on AFI’s list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.)

1) Born in Kingston, New York in 1939 & raised in Manhattan.
2) His father took him to see silent films at revival house theaters in New York City. (Developed an early appreciate of visual storytelling.)
3) “At the age of 10 I remember my favorite films were She Wore a Yellow RibbonRed River, and The Ghost Goes West.”
4) “I started keeping a card file of everything I saw from the age of twelve, twelve and a half.” (He did that for 18 years and had between 5,000—6,000 cards.)

5) His parents didn’t get a television until he moved out of the house.
6) At age 15 he got his first job with a professional theater company in Traverse City, Michigan. “That was a great experience, we did 10 plays in 10 weeks.”)
7) At age 16 started studying acting with Stella Adler. (Continued for 4 years.)
8) At age 19 he got the rights to a Clifford Odets play and took 9 months raising $15,000. to direct The Big Knife. (The play was not a financial success.)
9) When he was 20 he met New York Times film critics Andrew Sarris and Eugene Archer. “They would come over to my apartment in Manhattan and talk movies into the wee hours. I learned a great deal from both of them.”
10) Started writing about plays and films for newspapers to earn some money.”It was a way of getting on screening lists and seeing movies for nothing. And getting books and seeing plays for nothing. It was totally motivated by not wanting to spend my own money because I didn’t have any.”
11) At 24, he did a retrospect on Orson Welles at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for $50.
12) Started writing freelance articles on film for Esquire magazine.
13) Had his second theatrical flop in New York and moved to LA with his wife Polly Platt to try to get into the movies.
14) “A little less than a year after we’d gotten to Hollywood I met Roger Cormanby accident…he said, ‘you’re a writer, I read your stuff in Esquire. Would you like to write a movie?’ Yeah, I’d like to write a movie.”
15) He did a rewrite on one of Corman’s scripts for $300 and no credit. “The Wild Angels (1966) as it was known as— it was the most successful film of [Corman’s] career.”—Bogdanovich
16) Bogdanovich also found most of the locations and shot second unit on The Wild Angels. And suggested Peter Fonda for the lead.
17) Just before turning 30 he directed and co-wrote a feature film for Corman called Targets starring Boris Karloff.
18) His next film was The Last Picture Show (1971) which he directed, edited and co-wrote. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and comparisons were made between a young Bogdanovich and Orson Welles after he made Citizen Kane.

The Last Picture Show was a financial and critical success making Bogdanovich as hot as a young director can be. Stars of the day were having meetings with him in hopes of getting to work with the rising star. Professionally, that was Bogdanovich’s mountain top experience. He was 32 years-old. What a journey. It’s not a journey you can duplicate as a filmmaker. But you can appreciate the work and the years (even the failures) that led up to his breakout success.

It’s another prime example of the 10,000 hour rule in effect. What you can take away from Bogdanovich is he took small steps and moved forward. He was serious about the craft. From his film index card system that he started when he was 12, to working at a regional theater in Michigan as a teenager, to hanging out with New York film critics in his early 20s, directing off-broadway plays, writing articles, jumping into Roger Corman’s B-film world, to writing and directing The Last Picture Show was basically a 20 year journey.

P.S. Here’s a little bit of odd film trivia I just discovered. Bogdanovich’s first wife, Polly Platt (who had her own distinguished career in Hollywood) was born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois—the same city where actor/writer Sam Shepard was born. And just 4 years apart. Fort Sheridan is a Chicago suburb on the North Shore of Lake Michigan and just 30 miles from where Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Breaking of Peter Bogdanovich

“If you’re not hot in Los Angeles, it’s a very lonely town…It’s a lonely town even if you are hot.”
Peter Bogdanovich

“I’m not bitter. I ask for it myself. Success is very hard. Nobody prepares you for it. You think you’re infallible. You pretend you know more than you do. Pride goeth before the fall.”
Peter Bogdanovich
New York Times article: Older, Sadder, Maybe Wiser
April 07,2002

In the post The Making of Peter Bogdanovich I wrote about his rise from an early love of movies as a child, to being a teenage actor, to being a writer in his early twenties, to directing The Last Picture Show in his early thirties. After that film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, he would direct two more winners—What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. At least professionally, at that moment in time, Bogdanovich had the kind of success that few filmmakers experience. But then what happened?

“What happened? Three-in-a-row struck back. Mr. Bogdanovich’s three successes were followed with Daisy Miller (1974), At Long last Love(1975), and Nickelodeon (1976)–three flops.”
David Thomson

Professionally he was in a tail spin. It probably didn’t help his psyche that he turned down opportunitees to direct The Godfather and Chinatown. His private life was no picnic either. During The Last Picture Show he began an affair with Cybill Shepherd which ended his marriage to Polly Platt. After his three failed films, his relationship  ended with Shepherd and in 1979, at age 39, he began a relationship with 19-year-old Playboy centerfold Dorothy Stratten, who he cast in his film They All Laughed. Tragically Stratten was killed in 1980 by her  estranged husband who then killed himself. Bogdanovich retreated by writing a book about Stratten.

He also created a controversy when his compassion for Stratten’s 13-year-old half-sister turned into a romantic relationship sometime in her later teens. When Bogdanovich was 49 he married the 20-year-old.  They would later divorce, and along the way he’s filed for bankruptcy twice, reportedly went through psychiatric treatment, and eventually left California and returned to New York’s Upper West Side, not far from where he was raised.

“If you do not stay visible, you’re forgotten. It’s somewhat like riding a tiger. If you fall off, you get eaten, and if you stay on it’s a rough ride.”
Paul S. Sigelman (An attorney of Peter Bogdanovich’s at the time of his bankruptcy trials)

 “[Hollywood’s] an easy place to get fooled. There are no real seasons and you’re not aware of time going. Orson had this line: ‘The terrible thing about LA is that you sit down when you’re 25 and when you stand up you’re 62.’ He was not wrong.”
Peter Bogdanovich

The Bel-Air hacienda, the Rolls-Royce, and the servants of his past life are gone. Like John Wayne, John Ford, and Cary Grant—all just a faded remnants of Bogdanovich’s past.

But well into the future, filmmakers will learn from Bogdanovich—even if just via his writings and commentaries—about filmmaking, old Hollywood, and maybe a life lesson or two along the way.

THE REBOUND OF PETER BOGDANOVICH

Bogdanovich was a survivor in an industry that’s difficult to have a long career. Bogdanovich was fortunate enough to have a second act in the ’80 and ’90s when he made Mask and They All Laughed (a Tarantino favorite), Noises Off, recorded DVD commentaries, and wrote some books (Who the Devil Made It? , Peter Bogdanovich’s Movie of the Week, Who the Hell’s in It?) But even more impressive he had a third act. Starting in 2000 he had a reoccurring role in The Sopranos and continued picking up acting gigs here and there until he died. He taught at University of North Carolina School for the Arts. In 2009 he won a Grammy for the video Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream. And with his film knowledge he was also a popular speaker on the film festival circuit and write many articles and blog posts.

Scott W. Smith

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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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“I’m having an amazing life—and it isn’t over yet.”
—Cloris Leachman (how she started her 1972 Oscar acceptance speech)

Actress Cloris Leachman was a Hollywood icon with Iowa roots. Long before she picked up an Oscar Award, a bunch of Emmys, and a whole new fan base as an 82-year-old on Dancing with the Stars, Leachman had a humbler start when born in Des Moines in 1926. She died yesterday at age 94.

Her father and a cousin started Leachman Lumber Company in Des Moines which is celebrating 100 years of business this year. She began playing the piano and performing in plays as a youth in Iowa on her way to greater success in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. In 2006, Drake University in Des Moines awarded her with an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

If Leachman had of just been an extra in the following plays, Tv shows, and movies her career would have been remarkable.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (the original Broadway show)
Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific
Lassie
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone
The Last Picture Show
Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein
The Muppet Movie
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Malcolm in the Middle

Of course, she wasn’t just an extra but an acclaimed actress whose career spanned an unbelievable nine decades. Along the way she picked up eight Primetime Emmy Awards which is a record she shares with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (It’s worth noting that both went to Northwestern University. And because it’s an expensive school it’s also worth noting that Leachman received a scholarship to attend the drama program.)

Here’s her Oscar acceptance speech for The Last Picture Show where she gave shout-outs to both her first piano teacher and her dancing teacher in Des Moines, her father Buck “who paid the bills,” and her mother whose “imagination and funny sense of humor” all which lead to her success.

Dream big, start small.

And here’s her performance from a script Peter Bogdanovich and Larry McMurty (based on McMurty’s book The Last Picture Show) that led to her Oscar.

P.S. Leachman’s comment at the Oscar’s about her father paying the bills got extended applause. I imagine because in 1972 they had a deeper understanding of what that meant. Leachman was three years old when the stock market crashed in 1929 meaning from that point through her teen years was lived in the economic hard times of The Great Depression and World War II. AP News reported that since Leachman’s family ”could not afford a piano, she practiced on a cardboard drawing of the keys.”

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

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“I think The Third Man is one of the best, if not the best, non-auteur films ever made.”
Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show)

The Third Man was never written to be read but only to be seen. Like many love affairs, it started at a dinner table and continued with many headaches in many places, Vienna, Venice, Ravello, London, Santa Monica.”
Screenwriter Graham Greene
‘The Third Man’ as a Story and a Film
NY Times—March 19, 1950

Towards the end of the Orson Welles Q&A at USC back in 1981 there is this brief exchange which says a lot about going to great lengths to get the right shot.

Audience member: An actor friend of mine once told me that he thought one of the great moments in film is in The Third Man when the light falls on you and you’re revealed —

Orson Welles: —”Oh, it is one of the great moments. (The USC audience laughs and applauds.) Remember I didn’t direct it, Carol Reed directed it. And do you know that we had that set built on another stage, and every afternoon for five days at the end of the day’s shooting we went and shot it again until Carol had it exactly the way he wanted it. Because he knew it was the key moment of the movie.”

I couldn’t find that scene online, and that’s just as well. If you’ve seen it you know what’s being talked about. If you haven’t seen it, you should (and not online). But I did find the classic short “cuckoo clocks” monologue by Welles that is often quoted from the movie. And a couple other related videos including a full audio commentary of The Third Man by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic ) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity). And I should at least mention that The Third Man—which is listed at number #94 on IMDB’s Top 250— was written by the novelist, playwright and screenwriter Graham Greene (but even he admitted, “the popular line of dialogue concerning Swiss cuckoo clocks was written into the script by Mr. Welles himself.”)

Scott W. Smith

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“IF YOU PRETEND THE CHARACTERS CANT SPEAK, AND WRITE A SILENT MOVIE, YOU WILL BE WRITING GREAT DRAMA.”
David Mamet 

“Storytelling without dialogue. It’s the purest form of cinematic storytelling. It’s the most inclusive approach you can take. It confirmed something I really had a hunch on, is that the audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. That’s your job as a storyteller, is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal. We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct,because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in. There’s a reason that we’re all attracted to an infant or a puppy. It’s not just that they’re damn cute; it’s because they can’t completely express what they’re thinking and what their intentions are. And it’s like a magnet. We can’t stop ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence and fill it in.

I first started really understanding this storytelling device when I was writing with Bob Peterson on Finding Nemo. And we would call this the unifying theory of two plus two.Make the audience put things together. Don’t give them four, give them two plus two. The elements you provide and the order you place them in is crucial to whether you succeed or fail at engaging the audience. Editors and screenwriters have known this all along. It’s the invisible application that holds our attention to story. I don’t mean to make it sound like this is an actual exact science, it’s not. That’s what’s so special about stories, they’re not a widget, they aren’t exact. Stories are inevitable, if they’re good, but they’re not predictable.”
Two time Oscar-winning writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E)
TED talk The Clues to a Great Story

P.S. I think I first read that 2+2 story concept in an interview with Billy Wilder or Ernst Lubitsch. (I’ll try to track it down.)

Related Posts:
Mr. Silent Films
Emotionally Silent Dialogue
Writing “The Artist” (Part 1) “I thought making a silent film would be a magnificent challenge.”
Show, Don’t Tell (Tip #46) “One of the cardinal sins for a scriptwriter, when he runs into some difficulty, is to say ‘We can cover that by a line of dialogue.”—Hitchcock
Garry Marshall’s Directing Tips (Part 7) “The reaction to the action is critical.”—Blake Edwards via Marshall
Directing Tips from Peter Bogdanovich  “Silent looks between people—to me, that’s what movies are about.”—Peter Bogdanovich
Ken Burns on 1+1=3

Scott W. Smith

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“If you’re not hot in Los Angeles, it’s a very lonely town…It’s a lonely town even if you are hot.”
Peter Bogdanovich

“I’m not bitter. I ask for it myself. Success is very hard. Nobody prepares you for it. You think you’re infallible. You pretend you know more than you do. Pride goeth before the fall.”
Peter Bogdanovich
New York Times article: Older, Sadder, Maybe Wiser
April 07,2002

In the post The Making of Peter Bogdanovich I wrote about his rise from an early love of movies as a child, to being a teenage actor, to being a writer in his early twenties, to directing The Last Picture Show in his early thirties. After that film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, he would direct two more winners—What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. At least professionally, at that moment in time, Bogdanovich had the kind of success that few filmmakers experience. But then what happened?

“What happened? Three-in-a-row struck back. Mr. Bogdanovich’s three successes were followed with Daisy Miller (1974), At Long last Love (1975), and Nickelodeon (1976)–three flops.”
David Thomson

Professionally he was in a tail spin. It probably didn’t help his psyche that he turned down opportunitees to direct The Godfather and Chinatown. His private life was no picnic either. During The Last Picture Show he began an affair with Cybill Shepherd which ended his marriage to Polly Platt. After his three failed films, his relationship  ended with Shepherd and in 1979, at age 39, he began a relationship with 19-year-old Playboy centerfold Dorothy Stratten, who he cast in his film They All Laughed. Tragically Stratten was killed in 1980 by her  estranged husband who then killed himself. Bogdanovich retreated by writing a book about Stratten.

He also created a controversy when his compassion for Stratten’s 13-year-old half-sister turned into a romantic relationship sometime in her later teens. When Bogdanovich was 49 he married the 20-year-old.  They would later divorce, and along the way he’s filed for bankruptcy twice, reportedly went through psychiatric treatment, and eventually left California and returned to New York’s Upper West Side, not far from where he was raised.

“If you do not stay visible, you’re forgotten. It’s somewhat like riding a tiger. If you fall off, you get eaten, and if you stay on it’s a rough ride.”
Paul S. Sigelman (An attorney of Peter Bogdanovich’s at the time of his bankruptcy trials)

But Bogdanovich is a survivor. Heck, my favorite Bogdanvich film, Mask (1985), was made during one of the hardest periods of his life. And he’s continued to make films over the years, he had a role on The Sopranos, he’s written books (including Who the Devil Made It and one on Orson Welles), he blogs at Blogdanovich, he teaches at the University of North Carolina School for the Arts, and because of his deep film knowledge and relationship with Welles and John Ford he is a living link to the past and in demand at film festivals and doing DVD commentaries. Now at age 73 he still has films to make & roles to play, articles to write, and lessons to pass on to the next generation of filmmakers.

 “[Hollywood’s] an easy place to get fooled. There are no real seasons and you’re not aware of time going. Orson had this line: ‘The terrible thing about LA is that you sit down when you’re 25 and when you stand up you’re 62.’ He was not wrong.”
Peter Bogdanovich

The Bel-Air hacienda, the Rolls-Royce, and the servants of his past life are gone. Like John Wayne, John Ford, and Cary Grant—all just a faded remnants of Bogdanovich’s past.

But well into the future, filmmakers will learn from Bogdanovich—even if just via his writings and commentaries—about filmmaking, old Hollywood, and maybe a life lesson or two along the way.

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

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Paper Moon (1973) was Tatum O’Neal’s first film and she walked away with the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She was 10 years old, which is still the record for the youngest Oscar-winning actor or actress. And while she’s terrific the entire film, her line, “I want my $200!” (see the scene below) was her “Show me the money!”-like line from Jerry Maguire. Never underestimate the power and resonance of one emotional line on an audience.

Paper Moon was the third Hollywood studio film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and his third successful film in a row following The Last Picture show and What’s Up, Doc?  To have a streak of three critical and financial successes out of the gate was an amazing feat, but as we’ll see in tomorrow’s post, it would not last.

Bogdanovich’s life after Paper Moon, after he’d reached the mountain top, would become a cautionary tale. As the saying goes, “Success is a poor teacher.” But he’s a survivor and he still has stories to tell—lessons to pass on—which is why when the dust settles I will have written about him for two straight weeks.

At the 4:40 mark when Tatum O’Neal’s character says, “Then get it,” the direction Bogdanovich gave her was to say it like John Wayne would. Also, if you notice the up until the 2:00 mark the perspective of the scene is played from the inside looking out and then it shifts to outside (though technically inside the restaurant) looking in breaking the 180 rule. But Bogdanovich covers it “by cutting on movement”—when Ryan O’Neal leans over to get some relish— so the audience doesn’t notice the perspective shift. A trick he said he learned from Howard Hawks.

Paper Moon was written by Joe David Brown and  Alvin Sargent (based on Sargent’s novel Addie Play). It was Brown’s last film and he died in 1976, Sargent later won two-Oscars (Ordinary People, Julia) and was one of the co-writers on The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).

P.S. On the Paper Moon director’s commentary Bogdanovich says that though the novel was a southern story, he thought it would be more interesting to put it somewhere else and remembered how flat Kansas was when he once drove through the Midwest. They shot the movie in and around Hays, Kansas and St. Joseph, Missouri. The opening of the scene above was shot in  Gorham, Kansas. (Named after E.D. Gorham once described by the Kansas City Star as “the largest landowner in western Kansas, and perhpas the richest man in that part of the state.” Always comes back to money, right?) The opening title graphics were found in Kansas City by the film’s production designer Polly Platt when scouting locations.

Scott W. Smith

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Now on the day that John Wayne died
I found myself on the Continental Divide
Tell me where do I go from here?
Think I’ll ride into Leadville and have a few beers
Think of “Red River” or “Liberty Valance”
Can’t believe the old man’s gone
Incommunicado (written by Jimmy Buffett, Deborah McColl, M.L. Benoit)

Until I started this Peter Bogdanovich thread last week I knew him as a producer/director/writer/actor/film historian/book author, but I didn’t know he was a blogger. He started Blogdanovich in 2010 and it’s hosted through Indiewire. Here’s a sample from his post Red River & My Darling Clementine.

“It’s still impressive as hell when you realize Red River was Hawks’ first Western (out of only five), that it was the beautiful and breathtakingly fine actor Montgomery Clift’s first picture (though released second), and that it was the movie which made John Wayne a superstar, the single most defining role of his career.  As Tom Dunson, playing a character nearly twenty years his senior, Wayne went from an attractive and reliable, though mild, young leading man to the tough, no-nonsense, usually unyielding, gruffly laconic loner he was to play most memorably for the rest of his career.

John Ford, who had rescued Wayne from B-picture oblivion with the director’s first sound Western, Stagecoach(1939), and then used him on three or four pictures in the ‘40s, was amazed:  ‘I didn’t know the big son-of-a-bitch could act,’ he said, and promptly cast Wayne in an even older role for She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.  In fact, Hawks told me, Wayne was always so identified with Ford, and Ford with Westerns, that people often thought Ford had directed Red River and would compliment Ford himself on the picture; and Ford, Hawks continued, always said, ‘Thank you very much.’  Yet when I asked Hawks if he’d been thinking of Ford while making the picture, he replied:  ‘It’s hard not to think of Jack Ford when you’re making a Western.  Hard not to think of him when you’re making any picture.’”
Peter Bogdanovich

That gives you a glimpse why Orson Welles once told Bogdanovich when asked who his favorite directors were, “I prefer the old masters; by which I mean: John Ford, John Ford and John Ford.”

If you’re not up on film history, have never seen an Ernst Lubitsch movie, don’t see what the big deal is about John Wayne, or if you—to use Bogdanovich’s words— think film history began with Raging Bull, check out Blogdanovich:

The Birth of a NationCity Lights, The Art of Buster KeatonO Rare Ernst Lubitsch,The Grapes of Wrath, The Philadelphia Story,  The 400 Blows will give you a good start.

P.S. What’s great about all of this is it continues what started on this blog in January after I saw Hugo & The Artist. Here at Screenwriting from Iowa, 2012 has turned into the year of film history appreciation. And if film history doesn’t excite you, I understand, I dropped the first film history class I ever took at the University of Miami. It’s people like Bogdanovich who can connect the dots for you.

Related posts:
Writing “The Jazz Singer”
The Founder of Hollywood

The Father of Film (Part 1)
You Tube Film School (Early Film History)
Mr. Silent Films
For the Love of Movies
Stagecoach” Revisted

Scott W. Smith

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“Auteurism today? Well, everybody thinks they’re an auteur. But nobody seems to understand what the whole auteur thing was. It wasn’t a theory as far as the French were concerned. It was a political statement called la politique des auteurs. Truffaut and Godard were attacking the old-fashioned, well-made film, French or American. They thought Howard Hawks was an infinitely better director than Fred Zinnemann. They thought Alfred Hitchcock was a greater director than David Lean. They were against Marcel Carné  and for Jean Renoir. Personal films were what they looking for, where a director’s personality dominated despite who wrote it or who was in it or who photographed it.”
Peter Bogdanovich
“Everybody thinks they’re an auteur” article by Vince Cosgrove
New York Daily News/March 2012

P.S. In the interview, Bogdanovich mentions that his favorite books about movies “include The Parade’s Gone By by Keven Brownlow, The American Cinema by Andrew Sarris, Adventures with D.W. Griffith by Karl Brown and Growing Up in Hollywood by Robert Parrish.

Scott W. Smith

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