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Mainstream - The Last Picture Show - Director's Cut

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The Last Picture Show - Director's Cut
Cybill Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges
Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Originally released 1971
126 minutes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009

The Last Picture Show was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress (Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman). This famous Peter Bogdanovich / Cybil Shepherd film about life in small town America circa 1951 is now available in a 2 DVD Director’s Choice version with Bogdanovich’s much sought after Nickelodeon about the early days of American cinema.

The Last Picture Show is one year small-town America in 1951. It reveals the intricate relationships between the town’s people and the many complex secrets they all keep.  It is the story of high school seniors Sonny, Duane, and Jacy (Bottoms, Bridges, and Shepherd). Duane and Jacy are a couple and Sonny and Duane best friends. It seems also that everybody is having an affair with somebody.

This is sort of a coming of age picture and in many ways an immensely sad picture. All the characters are trying their best to survive a brutal, soul-sucking environment and they all pretty much fail. As Eileen Brennan says, “A person can’t sneeze in this town without somebody offering a handkerchief.” Even the most innocent find it hard to survive.

This film by Peter Bogdanovich is a slow moving, detailed portrait of a period and place. If you enjoy such films, The Last Picture Show will certainly please. It is a very powerful picture if you get into it.

Most DVD special features are banal filler. This is not the case for The Last Picture Show: A Look Back, a one-hour documentary on this American classic with Bogdanovich, Shepherd, Leachman, Bottoms, and other stars of the movie. Part of what makes it interesting is you actually believe the positive comments the actors give the movie.

The director’s commentary track is the usual banal yada yada with Bogdanovich explaining why scenes were put back in the movie for the Director’s Cut version of this DVD.

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