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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Last Picture Show: The most stylish film you've never heard of

Showing this week at the Triskel is Peter Bogdanovich's classic The Last Picture show, which celebrates it's 40th birthday this year.

It's one of my favourite films.  Based in rural Texas is the early 1950's (an incredibly baby-faced) Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms star as two high-school seniors poised on the brink of a very depressing adulthood.  It's sad and it's beautiful and it's painfully real

The set designs and costumes by Bogdanovich's wife Polly Platt (he would later leave her for Cybill Shepard, the ingenue of the film - she apparantly had affairs with Bridges and Bottoms during filming as well, which must have been a fun environment to work in) are some of the best to be seen in films and marked a turning point for realism in the cinema. 

Up until 1970, costumes for period dramas were pretty contrived.  Platt made the characters look realistic and unobtrusively stylish at the same time, which complements Bogdanovich's genius eye for a composition.  At the time of filming Orson Welles was living with Bogdanovich and Platt and I think the influence really shows.  Here are a few pictures.

This film is every west-coast style blogger's inspiration; slouchy cool and a touch of urban decay and general apathy.  It looks a bit like  Band of Outsiders lookbook - forty years before Band of Outsiders was even thought of.
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