Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor, producer and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors, which included William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola. His most critically acclaimed film is The Last Picture Show.
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Hello, Peter Bogdanovich here to talk about my extensive history in Hollywood.
It's been an honor to support my old friend's legacy and finish this amazing piece of cinema history from one of the greatest directors of all time. We have 30 days left to make this happen.
You can learn more about the Indiegogo campaign to finish Orson Welles' last film The Other Side of the Wind here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/finish-orson-welles-last-film#/story
Victoria is assisting me via phone today. AMA.
Well, I'd just like to say thank you very much. I'm very touched by this response, and people talking about - obviously having some intimate knowledge of some my pictures.
It's very heartening, to me, and I really appreciate it very much.
I do not take it for granted.
And as far as Orson is concerned, he was a great influence on me, as he was on so many filmmakers. Probably more than any other director since D.W. Griffith.
And the tragic circumstances of The Other Side of the Wind which he was unable to finish - everybody who loves movies, new or old movies, should get behind this IndieGogo campaign and contribute. It wouldn't take much, and it can make a huge difference.
So thank you all for your interest, and attention, and long live Orson!
Peter, hi. Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I can’t believe I get the chance to be able to talk to you.
I’ll try to be brief.
A few questions for you:
Your involvement in The Sopranos was so much more than Elliot Kupferberg, which was fantastic in it’s own right. Like a lot of people who worked on that show, you wore many hats. It gave you a chance to direct the Sentimental Education episode and you had in-depth interviews with David Chase as well as doing commentaries on a few of the episodes. What did being on that show mean to you as someone who was as involved in it as you were?
You’re someone who has admired film for a very long time now. It’s been such a huge part of your life and you seem to appreciate and care so much about the way film impacts people’s lives. You’ve written about it, commented about it (in great length in both book and interview form) and gone so far as to preserve it with your knowledge and care as a film historian. You’re one of very few people that the thread from The Golden Age to now is tied to. What is it that you wish for, for the future of film? Is there a direction or evolution that you want to see happen?
Well, I loved being a part of that show. It was very invigorating, challenging and exciting. David Chase is a genius. He created an extraordinary show. I felt privileged to be a part of it.
I'd like to get away from the comic books and the cartoons. And get back to making pictures about people. The sad thing about the state of American movies today is that in the Golden Age of Movies - from 1921-1962, about, a convenient 50 years - there were adults making films for adults, despite the production code. Now we have adults making films for teenagers (male teenagers, mainly).
I think it's a sad state of affairs, frankly.
Orson once said he can't think of anything worse than firing up the projector at home and watching his own films, because he notices all the things he could've changed or added. Do you get that feeling when thinking back to projects?
Well, it depends.
There are certain films of mine that were not released exactly the ways I wanted them to be. And those I would still like to fix up. And in many cases, I have gone back and done director's cuts of those films - like NICKELODEON or THE LAST PICTURE SHOW or THE THING CALLED LOVE - and I have gone back and re-edited some of these pictures.
But there are director's cuts of quite a few of my pictures. Which means I obviously wasn't happy with the original cut. Otherwise, I wouldn't go back. The ones I didn't go back and re-cut were either hopeless, or pretty good.
I never look at movies of mine by myself.
The only time I see a film of mine is with an audience. I sit with the audience, and watch it.
Hi Peter, thanks for the AMA! With all your experience, directing classic movies, and interviewing the greatest filmmakers of the century, it makes sense that you taught at a film school in North Carolina for a few years. Did you enjoy teaching? And if so, why did you stop?
I stopped because I didn't enjoy teaching! I'm sorry, I wish I had!
The school is very good. It wasn't the school. It was me. I didn't like the classroom. I didn't enjoy high school. I didn't go to college. And... I had a great teacher of English, at Collegiate School of English, in New York, and I did enjoy him, but generally I didn't like going to school. And so I don't particularly enjoy being on the other side of the desk, either!
I dunno. Some of the kids were very talented. The school was very nice to me, so it wasn't anything like that. I just prefer to be on a movie set, or talking to a sizable audience about movies.
How good of shape is the negative for TOSOTW in? Has it been properly stored over the years?
Orson's workprint was about 40 minutes. How long do you expect the final running time of the film to be?
Lastly, Orson always seemed to deny the picture was auto-biographical, but did you sense John Huston understood he was playing Orson to a degree?
Yes. It has been. Our producers, Philippe, and Frank Marshall, have both checked the quality of the negatives in Europe - and it's in mind condition, very good shape. It's all there. So that was a relief to find that out. There's no problem at all with the negative.
Well, it wasn't really a work print. Orson edited a number of different sequences from the picture, but they weren't sequential, they were all over the place, just whatever he felt like doing. The Other Side Of the Wind is complicated by the fact that during the movie, you also are exposed to seeing sequences from a movie that John Huston's character was supposedly making. And those sequences are rather sexual, and surprisingly sensual. Orson didn't make sequences like that usually, but in this case he did, because he was creating sequences that were supposedly made by John Huston's character. And most of what Orson cut together were those sequences, probably because they're the most difficult - it's very hard to figure out exactly how to cut that material. So luckily, most of those sequences were edited by Orson.
Eh - well, I don't know that they ever discussed it. I mean, John once said "What is this movie about?" and Orson said "It's about a bastard director John, it's about us."
So in a sense, it was about a number of directors. I remember Orson trying to figure out who to cast in the picture. For a long time, he thought he would play it, but I remember very vividly standing on a street corner in Paris, just after we'd had a meal at a restaurant that Orson knew about that I could never find again, and Orson was saying "It's such a great part. WHY should I give it to John! Why don't I play it myself? But goddamnit, he's RIGHT for it!"
And so, as Orson said, it was about a macho, hairy-chested, John Ford, Raoul Walsh, Bill Wellman kind of director. And Orson really wasn't like that.
So it isn't really autobiographical in that sense at all.
You were on John Ritter's last episode of 8 Simple Rules. What was the day he passed away like?
John was a dear friend.
One of my closest friends. I miss him every day.
So of course, the day he died was one of the worst days of my life.
Greetings, Mr. Bogdanovich – After enjoying your many films over the years, finally I read your book The Killing of the Unicorn, and was heartbroken by your and Dorothy Stratten’s story. She seemed like a beautiful lady inside and out and I truly felt your grief and horror while reading your story.
Has your opinion wavered regarding Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire being kind of a girl-destroying factory? How do you feel today about Dorothy and what transpired?
Pretty much the same way I felt when I wrote the book.
I don't think my opinion has changed very much. The book said what I felt.
It was a more emotional report from the front, so to speak.
And I don't know if I would couch it in exactly the same words.
But overall, I think what happened I described pretty accurately.
Hello, thank you very much for doing this AMA!
What do you think about the current notion that television is in fact the new cinema?
Also, given your work as a film historian, how much mileage do you think is left in the current superhero movie trend?
Well, I think there's no question that since THE SOPRANOS - THE SOPRANOS raised the bar quite high. There's been a number of shows, series, after that that I don't think would've happened without the SOPRANOS, like BREAKING BAD, or MAD MEN, for example.
And I think there's more creativity in series television than there is in most movies.
There's no mileage left for me, but that doesn't mean the public feels the same way. Younger people seem to like those superhero movies. They bore the hell out of me.
I'll tell you why, too: they're largely driven by special effects. And now that they've proven they can do anything in special effects, I don't give a damn anymore!
What is your favorite Tom Petty song and what is a fact about Orson Welles we would find interesting?
Well, first of all, Tom Petty wrote so many great songs, I don't know one that's my favorite! On his most recent album, "Hypnotic Eye," there's a song I particularly like, "Sins of my Youth," which I love.
I also like a number of his other songs. I like "Crawling Back to You" also, very much.
Orson... well, people don't know this, but he was very funny. He had a great sense of humor, and had an extraordinarily loud and enduring laugh.
When he laughed, it felt like it was reverberating off the heavens.
How was it like getting to work with Roger Corman at a young age?
Also, I've heard a rumor brewing around that Criterion is releasing Saint Jack or Texasville on bluray, is this true?
Roger started me in the business, the movie business. He is a terrific producer. His M.O. is to throw you in the water and say "swim!" and if you can't swim, you drown, and if you can swim, you make other pictures.
Roger was great. I learned guerrilla filmmaking from Roger, and it's served me well over the years, because I know how to move quickly and efficiently, which is important.
I hope it's true! There's been talk of them doing SAINT JACK and TEXASVILLE - I don't know if it's happening or not, but i hope it's true, because the correct director's cut of TEXASVILLE is not available generally, and I wish it were, because it's a better film than the released version.
How would you assess the contribution of the Czech New Wave to the world cinema?
I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know much about it. I hear they're very good, but I haven't seen anything.
Hello, Mr. Bogdanovich! Fellow actor/critic/screenwriter of sorts here. You've gained notoriety for your pessimism regarding the future of film, especially in terms of target demographics shifting to the youth, and new generations' disinterest in older movies and the medium of film as a whole. What is your current outlook on the current industry's chances of producing art, given all the worries about Hollywood "running out of ideas," and the most prominent box office successes being sequels and "franchise" pictures? Does the new trend of crowdfunding entertainment, as well as the lowered cost of movie production (owing largely to new digital video technology) bode well for the medium?
And finally, do you still believe younger audiences are hopeless when it comes to exploring older films, for reasons such as they might be in black and white? Given that in the realm of video gaming, young people prefer Minecraft over Crysis, do they really still consider spectacle to be of such high importance?
Well, the crowdfunding question is interesting, because we're in the midst of a campaign on Indiegogo to help fund Orson's last film, The Other Side of the Wind. And anybody who's interested in the history of movies, or in fact, the art of the cinema (to use a pretentious phrase) should be interested in The Other Side of the Wind and helping us get it out there.
I've been trying to get this film completed since Orson died 30 years ago.
And it's been quite an ordeal. We're very close now, to being able to complete it - what happened was Orson shot everything he needed, but he wasn't able to complete the editing, for a variety of reasons.
What we're trying to do with this crowdfunding campaign is to get the final amount of money we need to complete the editing of the film, and to get it out there.
It is distressing to me that the younger generation seems to be totally uninterested in anything that's preceding 1995 or something - 2000. But it's a deeper problem than just lack of interest from younger people. There's no tradition of tradition in America. It's a young country, and frankly, is in many ways, still "the Wild, Wild West."
And unlike France, or England, or Italy, or Spain, there's no tradition of culture. And any civilized person should have a working knowledge of what's preceded the current output in all the arts. I'm afraid we're in a period of decadence - not just in the movies, but in most of the arts. I mean, there are no new novels being written that could possibly compete with the writing of novels that went on in the 19th century, amongst the Russians, or the English, or the Americans.
There's no Mark Twain, or Dostoyevsky, or Tolstoy.
So it's not just the movies.
Maybe spectacle is not important to kids? I haven't examined video games. I don't know anything about them. I taught at University of North Carolina School of the Arts for 3 years. And I found that the students were very prejudiced against black & white movies now, which frankly is inane.
The problem, probably, stems from the fact that younger people don't have the opportunity to see the older films on the big screen as they were intended to be seen. And that's part of the problem. Because movies weren't made to be seen on the computer, or on the TV, they were meant to be seen on a big screen with an audience.
So since the older films are increasingly rare to be seen that way, it could be part of the problem with younger peoples' attention span.
Do you have any funny or memorable stories about filming What's Up, Doc? It is definitely one of my favorite films.
WHAT'S UP, DOC? was the most fun I ever had making a picture.
I thought they'd all be like that. The whole thing was fun.
That was not necessarily the case.
But it was a lot of fun making that picture. Barbara and Ryan were delightful, and introduced Madeline Kahn to pictures, and she was great - just a terrific experience, in that it translated to the audience - audiences had a lot of fun with it. And we had a lot of fun making it!
Can you please tell us a few behind the scenes moment of directing Noises Off? Any memories of the late Christopher Reeve or John Ritter that you'd care to share? It was an amazing cast that you assembled!
Thank you so much for doing this AMA!
NOISES OFF was a picture I wanted to make. I went to Steven Spielberg, who had the rights, and I said "I'd like to do this." He hadn't planned to direct it, so it worked out that he was very helpful in agreeing to have me direct it. And Frank Marshall, who was my old friend who worked with me on my first six or seven pictures, they were his first six or seven pictures too, he produced NOISES OFF. He had a lot of fun.
It's a very funny play. I first saw it on Broadway. The trick was to figure out how to do it as a movie without ruining the construction of the play, which is what made it work. So we basically did the whole play, and there were certain things we did to make it more accessible, but basically we did the play by Michael Frayn. And Chris Reeve was wonderful to work with, and John Ritter, that was my third film with John, and as I said earlier, he was one of my closest friends, and a great talent. Michael Caine was great to work with. Everybody was great in that cast. And we did a lot of scenes without a cut - many, many scenes - one or two scenes went on for 15 pages without a cut! And the cast had to really work as an ensemble, because if one person screwed up, we had to go back to the beginning, so it was a team effort, the whole thing.
Did Orson Welles have any idea that Citizen Kane would be seen as a masterpiece that it is seen as today?
Well, I think he knew it was a good picture.
Over the years, it became a kind of albatross around his neck, because people just didn't realize he'd made any other films.
For years, all his life really, people would say "What do you do after CITIZEN KANE?"
And the fact that he made a number of brilliant films after CITIZEN KANE - like OTHELLO, or TOUCH OF EVIL - those pictures just weren't released properly in the States, and just went by-the-by, but they're brilliant films.
And I think The Other Side of the Wind, which we are trying to have an IndieGogo campaign for currently - I think we need to finish this film because it's his last film. It's a movie about moviemaking, so it's particularly relevant.
We need to get that film out there for the public to see.
Were any of the original editors who assisted Orson on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (or Marie-Sophie Dubus who cut F FOR FAKE) consulted or considered for the completion of the film? I would think that the time spent by his side as he worked on his cut would give them valuable insight into his thought processes and intentions.
Well, I think we've consulted with her, and Orson left quite a lot of notes and instructions for the editing of the film. And we've had access to all of that. We're using that to do a good a job, getting as close to what he had in mind as we can.
Now, both Frank Marshall and I worked on the film - Frank even more extensively than I did, in terms of time spent - and that's helped us, too, because Orson would say what he had in mind, and then do it - so we definitely are talking to everybody who had any contact with the film during the making of it, or after, including his collaborator and companion, the woman who co-wrote the film with him, Oja Kodar.
One more question about Welles - I love Touch of Evil. But there are some pretty campy moments. Do you think that was intentional? Sometimes its jarring (such as Dennis Weaver's performance).
Well, Dennis' performance & character was what Orson referred to as "A Shakespearean looney."
There are characters like that in Shakespeare's plays - off the wall characters.
And that's what Orson had in mind with Dennis.
I think he's quite funny in the picture.
But the picture itself is quite unusual. And a bit off the wall. And I think it's part of its glory.
Hi Peter! Thanks for doing this AMA and for all your beautiful movies :)
How would you describe the relationship between Orson and John Huston?
Well, Orson and John Huston both made their first films in the same year - THE MALTESE FALCON and CITIZEN KANE both came out in 1941.
And so they were very close contemporaries. And when I watched them working together, they really got along very well.
John - who always made studio movies, and never made independent pictures the way Orson did - was fascinated with Orson's way of making pictures, which was with a small crew, and the kind of improvisational quality that the whole production had.
Because Orson would re-write the scenes every day.
John really enjoyed the making of it very much. He said "I'd like to make movies like this - I wish I could've."
I think they had respect for each other. Very much so.
I don't know if this is something you're asked often or even earlier in this thread, but how did you befriend Orson?
It started with a program note that i wrote for a theater in New York, about Orson's OTHELLO in 1960, actually, in which I said that his OTHELLO was the best Shakespeare movie ever made.
Which, at that time, was absolutely not the general consensus.
In fact, that was considered an outrageous statement.
But now it's considered accurate.
But at that time, it was very avant garde.
As a result of that, I was asked to curate the first Orson Welles retrospective in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and to write the accompanying monograph, which was called The Cinema of Orson Welles.
And i sent a couple of copies of that to Orson somewhere in Europe, where he was shooting THE TRIAL.
I didn't hear anything for seven years.
Seven years later, at the end of 1968, after I'd already made a movie and written a couple of other books, I get a call out of the blue from Orson Welles, who was in Los Angeles (which is where I was at the time) and he said to me "I can't tell you how long I've wanted to meet you!" and I said "That's MY line! Why did you want to meet me?" and he said "Because you've written the truest words ever published about me" - pause - "in English."
Then he said "What are doing tomorrow? Can you meet me at 3 o'clock at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel?"
And of course, I did, and we met, and we got along very well, and I had just published about a year before an interview book with John Ford. And brought Orson a copy of it.
Because I knew Ford was Orson's favorite American director. And we had a very, very intense 2 or 3 hour conversation. At the end of which, Orson said "It's too bad you're such an important director that you probably wouldn't want to write a book like this about me!" and I said "I'd love to do an interview book with you."
And he said "Fine, let's do it!"
And that was the beginning of our relationship.
Hello. Would you consider doing another sci-fi movie? With technology that we have today it would be much cheaper to do than back then when you did your first movie.
Well, I didn't do that science fiction movie that people think I did - he's talking about a movie called VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN.
I think that's what you're referring to. Which is by no means my first movie. I directed exactly 12 minutes of that movie. Everything with the women was directed by me. Everything with the men (which is the majority of the movie) was some Russian director.
It was a film that Roger Corman bought, a Russian science fiction movie, quite a bad one, and Roger asked me to put some women in it, because otherwise American International - the studio - wouldn't buy it.
So I shot about 10 minutes of it - putting these girls into it - and it keeps appearing on my filmography, as though I'd directed the whole picture. Which I had very little to do with it, it's dreadful.
TARGETS was the first film I directed entirely.
I had more to do with Roger Corman's THE WILD ANGELS than I did with this PLANET movie.
To answer the question about science fiction - I don't have much interest in science fiction movies. So I'm out of step with the current craze.
There is one sort-of science fiction movie that I've had some interest in, it's based on a book by Robert Graves, but it's a futuristic science fiction movie, has very little technology in it, and I'll probably not make it, but I'm not that interested in the whole genre, that's my problem.
If there was one movie you feel everyone needs to see in their lifetime, what would it be?
The Other Side of the Wind!
We all need to get behind that campaign on IndieGogo, and help finish Orson Welles' last film!
He was one of the really great filmmakers of our time. And we need to get his last film, which is about movies, the only movie he made about making movies, we need to get that out there in the world. Because it's a great film.
And now, everybody has the opportunity to contribute by throwing in a few bucks and becoming a part of film history.
And maybe this will be the best film Orson made. I don't know!
Thanks for doing this ama!
What do you consider to be the best films by the following filmmakers: Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, and Alfred Hitchcock?
I think you were in only one scene with James Gandolfini during The Sopranos but what was it like working with him?
Stanley Kubrick, I like either PATHS OF GLORY or THE KILLING, probably PATHS OF GLORY.
Steven's made so many films, I don't know which are the best! SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.
Hitchcock, I like NOTORIOUS and REAR WINDOW very much. And NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
Well, I was only in one scene as an actor, but I directed him in one episode. He was a wonderful actor, terrific. Easy to work with, a real talent.
What was it like working with Tom Petty?
I loved working with Tom. That's why I took 2 years to make the documentary! I didn't want to stop, we had such a good time on that.
It was hard work. But it was amazing. He's a wonderfully talented guy, and became a real pal. He's a good friend now, and I love him dearly.
I have another question - I heard that Orson was rather bitter that he was starring in a "toy movie" as part of his role for "Transformers - the Movie" in 86. Is this true?
And speaking as a Transformers fan - he brought an amazing performance and incredibly memorable character with his portrayal of Unicron. I hope that as his friend you can appreciate the joy he brought us. Thanks.
No, I don't think Orson was bitter about that. Orson wasn't really bitter. He was very acerbic. He could be rather cutting. But I wouldn't say he was bitter.
I'm sure he had moments of bitterness, but I don't think it was in his nature, really, to be bitter.
And it's nice to hear that. I'm sure he'd like to hear that.
Having worked with the late, great River Phoenix, on The Thing Called Love, had you ear-marked him down for any of your other films, had he not sadly passed?
Strangly, I watched The Thing Called Love on Netflix just two days ago!
I enjoyed making that picture. River was a great collaborator. I relied on him quite a bit, and his instincts. It was a movie about that generation, all the actors were in their early 20's, and I asked them - we re-wrote a lot of it as we went along, because I wanted the actors to contribute, since they knew more about their own generation than I did.
River was a kind of genius.
Very, very, very talented. And a dear, dear kid. It was a tragedy what happened to him. An absolute tragedy. Which could've been avoided.
There's more to it than has been told.
Favorite John Ford movie and what's the story of you directing A Saintly Switch? Seems like something out of the left field.
My favorite John Ford movie? There's so many! I don't know. THE QUIET MAN... and THE SEARCHERS... THEY WERE EXPENDABLE... I like a lot of John Ford movies. He was also, by the way, Orson Welles' favorite American director.
Well, the Wonderful World of Disney wanted me to do it! And I thought it was a funny concept, and a good script, and I liked the idea of working with a black cast, and David Allen Greer is one of the funniest guys around, a brilliant comedian, and Vivica Fox is a very talented comedienne, and we had some very talented kids in it. I enjoyed the film. I like comedies.
> I think it's a sad state of affairs, frankly.
But, we have people like you. People that have worked so hard to put what they want to see out there.
> And get back to making pictures about people.
And there are people like me and most likely everyone reading and participating in this thread that want to see this happen. I truly believe (and it may be in a dreamer's sense) that it can happen. That the landscape of film can and will change. It just takes vision and dedication to making it happen.
I so appreciate your vision and contribution to film and film history and will always look up to it as someone who also loves film.
Peter, thank you so very much for answering my questions. It means a lot to me.
That's very kind. I'm very happy to hear that.
Hi, Mr. Bogdanovich! Welcome to Reddit! Any advice to aspiring directors? I'm a senior in high school and I'm about to study filmmaking. Thanks.
Advice would be get familiar with the Golden Age of Movies.
Movies were better-constructed and better-directed in the years between 1912-1962 (slightly arbitrary 50 years but that's about right).
So I think: it's the foundation of the art.
And I think that anyone who directs movies should have a working knowledge of that foundation, before they start turning on the camera.
And the other advice I can give is: don't give up.
It's very easy to feel like giving up, because it's a merciless business.
Especially in America. Because the art and business aspects are at war with each other.
I'm a big fan of What's Up Doc? Do you know of any recent comedies that you feel share the same spirit or might be seen as its heirs?
Not really, I don't think anybody's making that kind of movies! I just made one, it's coming out in August, and it's called SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY, with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, it's a screwball comedy. It's not really like WHAT'S UP, DOC? But it has screwball comedy elements to it.
Unfortunately I don't see many films that are following in those footsteps. Footsteps, by the way, that I didn't create, that I was following in the footsteps of Preston Sturgiss and Howard Hawks and Leo McCarey.
Woody Allen occasionally makes those types of comedies. But he likes the same kinds of movies that i do. And there are other people making comedies that I like, like Wes Anderson, or Noah Baumbach, they both make comedies and I like their work very much.
Are there any plans for a US blu-ray releases of Target and Paper Moon?
Well, they're both Paramount releases, and Paramount seems to have turned over all their home video activities to Warner Brothers. I don't really know what's happening. TARGET was available on DVD, as was PAPER MOON, I haven't really heard of any plans for blu-ray. It could be planned, I just don't know about it.
Peter, you were considered a part of the "new hollywood" wave of directors who had a unique voice and style of filmmaking together with marty scorsese and steven spielberg.
are there any filmmakers that you think are pushing cinema today in a new and exciting direction?
Well, I'm not as well-versed in the current crop of filmmakers as I should be, but as I mentioned earlier, I like the work of Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach and Quentin Tarantino. I like their work, and I like them as people. They're friends of mine. And I'm sure there are others that I'm not as aware of as I should be.
Oh, by the way, there was a question asked earlier that I didn't properly answer, about the digital revolution, and the fact that you can make movies for very little now - you can make a movie almost with an iPhone.
I think that is a plus.
Because I think amateur filmmakers, or wannabe filmmakers, will discover from using that equipment that it isn't as easy to make a movie as sometimes people think it is.
And it might actually invigorate the art of the movies, because younger people who want to make movies can get the materials, the technical materials necessary to make the movies, much more easily.
It used to be much more expensive.
So I think that's a plus, actually.
What's your favorite Orson Welles movie?
Well, gee, that's tough.
I like CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT - which is his Falstaff movie, based on five plays by Shakespeare. I like TOUCH OF EVIL very much. And of course I like CITIZEN KANE.
what do you think was possible film-making-wise in welles' lifetime that is no longer possible now, and what is possible now that you think most people would be surprised to see welles embrace if he were still around (e.g. 3D movies)?
Well, there were 3-D movies when Orson were around. There were loads of 3-D movies for a year or two in the 1950's, people got tired of them very quickly. Unfortunately they came back with a vengeance. I don't like wearing glasses that aren't my own.
I don't know if Orson would be interested in any new technologies. He only made 1-2 pictures in color. He liked black & white, and I do too.
I think he would be very interested in the SPEED at which you can cut a movie now, because of computer editing.
But I can't speak for Orson.
What was so new about the New Hollywood?
Well...that's a difficult question to answer easily.
I think the New Hollywood was a brief period, really. It went from about 1966 - 1976. That's what's usually referred to as "The Seventies" but they began in the late Sixties.
I think it was an attempt to do more personal films, I guess, in a certain way. And also to deal with certain subjects that hadn't been dealt with.
It brought a lot of new directors to the fore.
And I think they brought their own personalities to it.
Whether it was Steven, or Francis, or Marty, or me, all of us had our own personalities that we brought to the movies, that was what was new.
I think the great leader in that was actually John Cassavetes.
In fact, I would say Orson Welles was the first independent filmmaker, because he made OTHELLO in the early '50's with his own money. I think he was the first modern independent filmmaker.
And was followed, some years later, by John Cassavetes. And he was a very important influence on the New Hollywood, I think.
Hello Mr. Bogdanovich. Thanks for doing this AMA.
What are your fondest (or most frustrating) memories on filming The Last Picture Show?
Also, do you still talk with Cloris Leachman and what do you think of her career after she won the Oscar for her role in the film?
FYI: I just started reading Orson Welles' Last Movie. Great stuff so far!
It was a complicated situation, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Very intense. I fell in love with Cybill Shepherd, and she fell in love with me, and that didn't help my relationship with my wife. And my wife was working on the picture, so it was an extremely difficult situation personally. Also my father passed away suddenly during the making of the picture. So it was a very emotional and emotionally complicated experience.
It was very intense.
The actors were all brilliant. And I enjoyed working with the actors very much. And I run into Cloris every so often. She's a brilliant actress, was great in that movie. That last scene in the kitchen when she explodes at Tim was the first take. And she always said to me "She could do better!" and I said "Whaddya want? You won the Oscar, Cloris!"
Kind of a joke between us.
I see her every so often, and I love Cloris, she's a wonderful actress.
And one more thing relating to Orson - he was the one who encouraged me to make the picture in black & white! And that was a HUGE contribution. I had wanted to make it black & white, but I didn't think anybody would let me.
And Orson said "Go ahead and ask. You have nothing to lose."
And I did ask, and they said okay.
So thanks to Orson, that film was made correctly in black & white.
And one other thing relating to Orson. The picture got awfully good reviews when it opened.
And Orson sent me a telegram, and he said "*Reading your notices is like opening presents at Christmas."
It was very sweet of him.