LB: Peter Bogdanovich RIP

by Larry Brody

Bogdanovich & Boris Karloff back when Bogdanovich began his ascent

LB’S NOTE: I’ve been thinking about Peter Bogdanovich’s death and wishing there was something I could add to the discussion of one of the most influential film directors of the 1970s.

I met him once during the ’80s, via my then business managers, and he was quite pleasant in a Hollywood sort of way. My management, however, wasn’t exactly fond of him. Something to do with the fact that he only got in touch with them when he needed money for a project.

This shouldn’t have been a negative because my managers’ main business was in fact lending people money in exchange for a percentage of the take. But their policy was to never – absolutely never – invest in the film biz, which, they said, they had told Bogdanovich myriad times so why did he keep insisting on wine-and-dining and pitching them time after time? read article

LB: Peter Bogdanovich Regrets…

by Larry Brody

Bogdanovich & Boris Karloff back when Bogdanovich began his ascent

…Just about everything he’s ever done, judging from some quotes I saw yesterday. But then, it often seems to me that showbiz brings out two character traits in most of the people who “make it:” Self-aggrandizement as they hit it big. And self-pity as the big gets smaller.

On his blog, Screenwriting From Iowa, which you all should read, btw, Scott W. Smith has two very interesting posts. The first is called The Making of Peter Bogdanovich,in which Smith gives us the following timeline:

1) Born in Kingston, New York in 1939 & raised in Manhattan.
2) His father took him to see silent films at revival house theaters in New York City. (Developed an early appreciate of visual storytelling.)
3) “At the age of 10 I remember my favorite films were She Wore a Yellow RibbonRed River, and The Ghost Goes West.”
4) “I started keeping a card file of everything I saw from the age of twelve, twelve and a half.” (He did that for 18 years and had between 5,000—6,000 cards.)
6) At age 15 he got his first job with a professional theater company in Traverse City, Michigan. “That was a great experience, we did 10 plays in 10 weeks.”)
7) At age 16 started studying acting with Stella Adler. (Continued for 4 years.)
8) At age 19 he got the rights to a Clifford Odets play and took 9 months raising $15,000. to direct The Big Knife. (The play was not a financial success.)
9) When he was 20 he met New York Times film critics Andrew Sarris and Eugene Archer. “They would come over to my apartment in Manhattan and talk movies into the wee hours. I learned a great deal from both of them.”
10) Started writing about plays and films for newspapers to earn some money.”It was a way of getting on screening lists and seeing movies for nothing. And getting books and seeing plays for nothing. It was totally motivated by not wanting to spend my own money because I didn’t have any.”
11) At 24, he did a retrospect on Orson Welles at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for $50.
12) Started writing freelance articles on film for Esquire magazine.
13) Had his second theatrical flop in New York and moved to LA with his wifePolly Platt to try to get into the movies.
14) “A little less than a year after we’d gotten to Hollywood I met Roger Corman by accident…he said, ‘you’re a writer, I read your stuff in Esquire. Would you like to write a movie?’ Yeah, I’d like to write a movie.”
15) He did a rewrite on one of Corman’s scripts for $300 and no credit. “The Wild Angels (1966) as it was known as— it was the most successful film of [Corman’s] career.”
16) Bogdanovich also found most of the locations and shot second unit on The Wild Angels. And suggested Peter Fonda for the lead.
17) Just before turning 30 he directed and co-wrote a feature film for Corman called Targets starring Boris Karloff.
18) His next film was The Last Picture Show (1971) which he directed, edited and co-wrote. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and comparisons were made between a young Bogdanovich and Orson Welles after he made Citizen Kane. read article