Film Series

Anatomy of a Murder: Screening and Conversation

October 17, 2009

Anatomy of a Murder depicts the decision of a lawyer, played by Jimmy Stewart, to take on the case of an army lieutenant who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife claimed he had raped her.

Director, Peter Bogdanovich, joined FOLCS for a screening and discussion.

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Peter Bogdanovich

After spending most of his teens studying acting with the legendary Stella Adler, and working as an actor in live TV and various theaters around the country, including the New York and the American Shakespeare Festivals, Peter Bogdanovich at age 20 began directing plays Off-Broadway and in N.Y. summer theater. He also wrote for the Museum of Modern Art a series of three monographs on Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, and Alfred Hitchcock, the first such retrospective studies of these directors in America. He also began writing a classic series of feature articles and profiles for Esquire, doing the ground-breaking Humphrey Bogart tribute, as well as definitive pieces on James Stewart, Jerry Lewis, and John Ford, among others.

An unapologetic popularizer of the classic Hollywood era of great movie makers, Bogdanovich had a second huge success with What’s Up, Doc? (1972), a madcap romantic farce starring Barbra Streisand and ‘Ryan O’Neal’, made in the style of ’30s screwball comedy; it won The Writers’ Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay, on which Bogdanovich had worked with Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton. One year later, he recreated a memorable vision of rural ’30s America with Paper Moon (1973), a Depression-era tale about a pair of unlikely con artists, which got four Academy Award nominations and nabbed a Supporting Actress Oscar for nine-year-old Tatum O’Neal in her screen debut, the youngest performer ever to win an Academy Award. The film was also awarded the Silver Shell at The San Sebastian Film Festival.

In 2004 came the premiere of Bogdanovich’s three-hour ABC special, The Mystery of Natalie Wood, as well as his hard-hitting docudrama about the infamous ballplayer Pete Rose, called Hustle (2004). At the end of the year, Knopf published his latest book, Who The Hell’s In It, which features chapters on 25 stars he knew or worked with including Cary Grant, James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando. Also shown was the episode he directed, “Sentimental Education,” for the fifth season of the award-winning HBO series The Sopranos (1999), in which for four seasons he has had the recurring role of the shrink’s (Lorraine Bracco’s) shrink. Early in 2006, Bogdanovich revised his 1971 documentary Directed by John Ford (1971), about the life and work of the great American filmmaker, for Warner Brothers. The film now includes interviews with such avowed Ford admirers as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, and had its world premiere at the 2006 Telluride Film Festival.