Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Movie Locations of the Great Southwest: Part 1 in a Series

The Last Picture Show (1971)

This movie is perfect for January discussion and viewing. It’s set in such a bleak, dead-of-winter reality, you can almost feel the chill as you watch it. That’s why I chose The Last Picture Show as the first in our series of excerpts from Movie Locations of the Great Southwest.

My thoughts on the movie:
Since the first time I saw this movie (in the theater, like you had to back then), it has been one of my all-time favorites. With the brillance found in all Larry McMurtry stories, it captures the isolated, small Texas town of the 1950s to a T. And the cast is unbelievable! Just to see the first on-screen and almost-first on-screen performances of Cybill Shephard and Jeff Bridges is worth the price of admission, but here we have so much more! The stories of the characters are sad, funny, pathetic, charming, and depressing... and it makes for a really good movie experience. Today, some people may not get the depth of this film and the reason it is so amazingly good, but at the time, the critics and industry folk got it and awarded it accordingly.

I almost drove down to Archer City to witness some of the filming of The Last Picture Show, but decided to use my gas money for another road trip. I’ve regretted that decision for a long, long time. I think it could have been one of the best experiences of my life, but I was young (only 20 years old) at the time, and other adventures were calling me. But, oh, to have seen Archer City! ~Jean

Movie Synopsis:
A group of 1950s high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that has been slowly dying, both economically and culturally, along with its older generation of cynical, hardened, and hopeless townsfolk.

Location Site: Royal Theater, Archer City, Texas
The Royal Theater is the iconic image most connected to The Last Picture Show. It is located at 116 S. Sycamore Street in Archer City. When filming began, the theater itself had already fallen into great disrepair, and only the outside facade was used in the movie. The production crews for The Last Picture Show (and its sequel, Texasville) spent considerable money and effort to prop the building up for filming purposes. But, ironically, the inside shots that were supposed to be the Royal Theater were filmed at a then still-active theater in nearby Olney, Texas. More...

See the entire feature about The Last Picture Show in Movie Locations of the Great Southwest on Taos Unlimited

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