The Last Picture Show–One of my all time favorite movies

Thanks to stereopsis99 for the You Tube

That video was the ending credits of one of my all time favorite movies,The Last Picture Show. It was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and released in 1971. Rarely does any work of art come together as well as this movie did. All of the actors were perfect for their roles and for many, this was their best movie performance. The black and white photography was perfect for both nostalgia and for portraying a windblown, dying town near the Texas panhandle. The movie was based on the novel of the same name by Larry MacMurtry.

Peter Bogdanovich said in the 40th Reunion with part of the cast that he traveled to Nashville as part of trying to  find actors for the roles, and there he fell in love with Country music for the first time. Hank Williams was Bogdanovich’s choice. He chose really well.

The Last Picture Show takes place during the Korean War 1951-52, the song was a hit at the time by Hank Williams, Why Don’t You Love Me?   Hank Williams was the poet of Country Music. His life was short and plagued with illness and  alcoholism, but he wrote great songs that have stood the test of time.

Thanks Jandy Hardesty for the You Tube

The movie has many great scenes, but one of the favorite’s is the one above known as “Sam’s Soliloquy” with Ben Johnson in the role of Sam the Lion. Ben Johnson was an old time character actor and former cowboy. He didn’t want to do the movie, but his old time director, John Ford, “convinced” him. The result was magnificent. This was Texas and Sam was a real, weathered Texan in the movie.

For me, Country music was an exotic guilty pleasure. In Britt, Minnesota, when I was only 3, I heard Country music only  on the jukebox at Andeline’s Truck Stop, Grocery Store, and Tavern. Andeline’s was out on Highway 53 about a mile from the Britt Depot. I listened and played the jukebox at Andeline’s with the Hank William’s records. Thereafter, I always associated Country music with truck drivers.

Later, in California, when my family drove out to  Landers in the desert on a Friday night, there were several taverns on Old Woman Springs Road that played live Country music for drinking and dancing. With the windows open on the car and the wind blowing, we could hear phrases of the music as we passed each tavern. Sometimes, I could hear it in the distance at our cabin if the wind was blowing eastward. I also listened to radio stations we could receive out there from Oklahoma and Texas that played Country Music.  Although I didn’t know about Art Tatum in those days, I thought like Art Tatum even then:  every musician has his story.

Looking back at this movie now, I can see how it influenced me in the writing of The Catrobat.


About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
This entry was posted in A Journey back in time, Finding your own path in life, Old Music Made New. Bookmark the permalink.