118 minutes| U.S.A.| 1971| ?Black and White| 35mm

This film screened 12th February 2010.

The pinnacle of former critic Peter Bogdanovich’s directorial career, this evocative portrait of idling lives in 1950s small-town America is a far more piercing and grown-up offering than the bulk of today’s Hollywood output. Twenty-two-year-old Jeff Bridges had previously only done a few bit parts but he laid down a marker here with his generous, astute, Oscar-nominated performance as the none-too-smart teenage stud Duane, who’s about to trace the fine line between innocence and experience. It’s very much an ensemble piece however, with terrific work from Bridges’ sensitive pal Timothy Bottoms, rich bitch Cybill Shepherd, and wise old-stager Ben Johnson – all unfolding at a particular cultural moment as the community’s fleapit cinema faces closure. The bracingly austere black-and-white camerawork imprints it all with the qualities of myth, as Hank Williams on the soundtrack strikes the perfect note of raw desolation. A classic.

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