Peter Bogdanovich, a hot-streak director for six years (Targets, Directed by John Ford, The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon) and one of the most ardent and super-knowledgable film scholars and Hardcore Film Catholics of all time, has left the earth.
He was 82 years old, almost exactly 82 and 1/2. I’m very sorry and saddened. Hugs and condolences to all who are mourning right now. Peter had his issues and resentments and tragic flaws even, but he was “one of us,” so to speak. This hurts. Tears are welling.
It’s not just Bogdanovich the man who has passed away, but Bogdanovich the spirit warrior…a sardonic pillar of his community…a devotional film nerd and a former hotshot director, a high priest in robes and an intimate interpreter of the greatest cinematic era of the 20th Century (mid 1930s to late 1970s).
Was Bogdanovich a friend? No, but I mildly knew him. Interviews, social encounters, nights on the town, “hey, Peter,” etc. I loved his blunt candor and sage understandings of the great classic-era directors and how their films were constructed and what they were fundamentally about. (The only time Peter got it wrong was in a 2007 New York Observer piece in which he insisted that Rio Bravo was better than High Noon.) I loved his imitations of Cary Grant, John Ford and other Hollywood luminaries. I half-loved the “droopy basset hound with glasses” thing that he grew into about 15 years ago, give or take. And I loved his Elliot Kupferberg character, the psychiatrist and confidante of Lorraine Bracco‘s Jennifer Melfi, for 15 episodes of The Sopranos.
I’ve written a lot about Peter over the years, and an hour ago I was thinking about re-posting three or four articles that meet my standards of “especially well written and well remembered”. Wimp and candy-ass that I am, I’m a little bit afraid of doing so because of the haters who would launch missiles and accuse me of Bob Clark-ing Bogdanovich. I’m thinking it over as we speak.