Moviedrome Mondays: The Last Picture Show (1971)

Once again, I could not find a video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 classic drama The Last Picture Show, so my readers will have to make due with a link to his transcript (read here). The original airdate of this episode was June 19th, 1988. I wholeheartedly agree with Cox’s intro here especially on what he said about it’s use of black-and-white (which Picture Show was shot in) and how it is still very rarely used. I also agree with Cox’s words of it being about the decline of a small Texas cow town, or, if you like, the decline of the American dream (whatever that is), symbolised by the closing of the last cinema in town. I could not have said it better myself. The acting – especially by Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman – is superb as is Bogdanovich’s direction, he and Larry McMurtry’s screenplay (adapted from the 1966 novel of the same name by the latter) and last, but not least, Robert Surtess black-and-white cinematography that gives it’s 1950’s setting a proper nostalgic tone. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Peter Bogdanovich films, read here.

Update 06/29/2021: A youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to The Last Picture Show has been found and readers can click here to view it

Here is a youtube link to the film’s original trailer below:


16 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: The Last Picture Show (1971)

  1. I saw that film on release, when I was 19. I liked it so much, I went back to the cinema the next week, and watched it again. As you rightly say, Ben and Cloris were simply marvellous, and the young Cybill showed some real talent too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Bogdanovich was on a real roll in the 70s wasn’t he, it’s amazing to think he doesn’t have a shelf full of Oscars. Whenever I hear mention of The Last Picture Show I always think of The Palace Theatre in the town where I live. I really miss that huge, glorious, single-screen cinema, with seats in the balcony and an interval for refreshments. Sadly, nobody seems to really notice or care that it’s gone.

  3. Cybill Shepherd did indeed show real talent as you finely state. Interestingly enough, though you probably know this, Peter Bogdanovich would soon date Shepherd shortly afterwards, lasting until 1978. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  4. I echo your sentiments on Bogdanovich 🙂 On that Palace Theatre, you need to give me a link to that because I would be interested in reading about it’s history. Based on what you say about it, it sounds sad that nobody really cares about it. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  5. A brilliant film! Few filmmakers have made anything better. The black and white contributes to the bleak, dying atmosphere hanging over the town.

  6. Hi John, I’ve been looking for a link to The Palace Cinema, sadly there doesn’t seem to be much information out there. I have got some photographs I took of the frontage, including a farewell message on the billboard. I’ll try and upload them over at my place.

  7. “Anarene, Texas 1951. Nothing much has changed.” The end of an era. That end drug for the rest of the decade and until the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy Assassination. Nothing much changed.

  8. Even though nothing much changed, it wasn’t a bad time. We weren’t bombarded at every turn with political propaganda. Our lives weren’t commercialized.

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