Peter Bogdanovich: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers Series)
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Before he was the Academy Award–nominated director of The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich (b. 1939) interviewed some of cinema’s great masters: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and others. Since becoming an acclaimed filmmaker himself, he has given countless interviews to the press about his own career.
This volume collects thirteen of his best, most comprehensive, and most insightful interviews, many long out of print and several never before published in their entirety. They cover more than forty years of directing, with Bogdanovich talking candidly about his great triumphs, such as The Last Picture Show and What’s Up, Doc?, and his overlooked gems, such as Daisy Miller and They All Laughed.
Assembled by acclaimed critic Peter Tonguette, also author of a new critical biography of Bogdanovich, these interviews demonstrate that Bogdanovich is not only one of America’s finest filmmakers, but also one of its most eloquent when discussing film and his own remarkable movies.
Ford—the longshot at the end of the funeral scene is very much of a Ford composition, because of the big sky and all that. I know that I was thinking of gordon gow / 1972 23 him, because I said, ‘We’ve got a Ford sky—let’s shoot it.’ But the placement of the longshot is at the end of the funeral scene rather than at the beginning of it. The standard way to use an establishing shot, of course, is to start with it, and then go into your close-ups. Well, we do the whole funeral scene in
of Making Pictures?” 84 Michael Ventura / 1982 Dialogue on Film: Peter Bogdanovich 92 American Film Institute / 1986 Peter Bogdanovich Interview 98 Thomas J. Harris / 1988 Between Action and Cut: Peter Bogdanovich 107 John Gallagher / 1997 v vi contents Interview with Peter Bogdanovich 132 Gerald Peary / 2002 Peter Bogdanovich’s Year of the Cat 142 Alex Simon / 2002 Peter Bogdanovich 160 Stephen Lemons / 2002 Peter Bogdanovich 164 Peter Tonguette / 2005 Additional Resources 173 Index 175
moment. She’s trying to talk to Timothy Bottoms, but she can’t quite get anything out. How did you work with her on that? Bogdanovich: The camera was in front of her, and I was right next to it, and she was looking at me playing the scene. I was talking to her. I was telling her what I thought she should be trying to do. Essentially, the character was trying to say something; she had an answer to the situation. She seemed to glimpse the sun through a cloud, and she was trying to find the words to
underline anything. And if the audience doesn’t follow it, fuck ’em.” But we didn’t go quite that far. In other words, we weren’t trying to be obscure. What we were trying to do was not to spoon feed the audience, not to give them pablum like so many movies do. We tried to just tell the story as honestly and as free of bullshit as possible. I’ve said it. For instance, the character that I was supposed to play in the book was kind of a ridiculous heavy. I mean, he was ridiculous and a heavy. I
you to be very comfortable and relaxed.” I said, “Well, I am. Do you want to see the clothes?” He said, “Yes, let’s look at the clothes.” So he looks through them and in about five minutes picks out pants, shirt, sweater. I said, “Geez, Orson, it’s weird—these are my clothes, but I’ve never worn them in this combination.” He said, “Well, there you see. Now you know how a successful young film director dresses!” Those were the clothes I wore: cotton turtleneck, a wool sweater, and a pair of