PIECES OF TIME:
THE FILMS OF PETER BOGDANOVICH
A retrospective tribute to the Oscar winning director of The Last Picture Show
begins with Saint Jack and They All Laughed
Sag Harbor, NY – Following the successful screenings of Targets and The Last Picture Show held in its pre-opening phase, Sag Harbor Cinema is devoting a retrospective series to the work of Peter Bogdanovich, who died earlier this year at age 82. Saint Jack and a rare 35 mm screening of They All Laughed will kick off the program on February 26th. Both films star former Sag Harbor resident Ben Gazzarra.
A child of the movies like his “New Hollywood” peers Martin Scorsese; Francis Ford Coppola; and Steven Spielberg, Bogdanovich brought a penchant for film history and curation to his own brand of cinephilia. His passion for, and knowledge of, American classic cinema can be found in the retrospectives he programmed for MoMA, as a young curator, and in the insightful collections of essays and interviews devoted to his favorite stars (Bogart, Cary Grant, Jerry Lewis, …) and directors, to name just a few: John Ford, Howard Hawks, Ernest Lubitsch, Orson Welles, Leo McCarey and Alfred Hitchcock.
That same passion and knowledge color his own features, among which Saint Jack and They All Laughed stand out as two of the director’s most personal titles. They are also two of his lesser known films, as screenings are difficult to come by.
In a 2006 interview with The New York Times, Bogdanovich said, “Saint Jack and They All Laughed were two of my best films but never received the kind of distribution they should have.”
“I am thrilled to be able to share these two films with our audience. They both had quite a tormented distribution history and have not been very accessible to the greater public, which makes them a bit more “secret” than — let’s say — The Last Picture Show, or Paper Moon. But they are peaks of Bogdanovich’s career — his sensibility, his mastery, his love of characters, comic touch and slight melancholy are all in them. I never tire of watching They All Laughed and its last scene breaks my heart every time I do,” says Sag Harbor Cinema’s Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan.
Filmed in Singapore and produced by Roger Corman, who had taught Bogdanovich the ropes of cheap and efficient independent filmmaking, Saint Jack was adapted from Paul Theroux’s book with the same name. Ben Gazzarra plays Bogdanovich’s version of the American hero in a distant land, a la Bogart — alone, taciturn, still, apparently unflappable; a veil of mystery around his past. He stars alongside Denholm Elliott, who plays an auditor with whom ‘Jack’ makes friends. Roger Ebert gave Saint Jack a four star review, specifically citing Gazzara’s impressive performance.
Wes Anderson called They All Laughed “Bogdanovich’s most pure vision of what he was drawn to.” Admired by directors as different as Anderson, Noah Baumbach and Quentin Tarantino, based on an original screenplay by Bogdanovich and Blaine Novak, They All Laughed is Bogdanovich at his most Lubitsch. The romantic comedy with farce is a love letter to love (even when mismatched or impossible) and to New York, beautifully photographed by Robbie Mueller. It stars Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzarra (Bogdanovich’s Bogart), John Ritter (his Cary Grant), Colleen Camp and playmate Dorothy Stratten. When Stratten was tragically murdered shortly after the end of production and 20th Century Fox pulled the release of the film, Bogdanovich bought its rights and distributed it on his own with no great success. They All Laughed will play at Sag Harbor Cinema in rare 35mm format.
Forthcoming titles in the series Pieces of Time: The Films of Peter Bogdanovich
will be announced in the next few weeks.
Tickets will be available at sagharborcinema.org.
More information about the films can be found below.
Dir. Peter Bogdanovich
USA, 1979; 115 mins in English Rated R
Ben Gazzara (The Killing of the Chinese Bookie) gives one of his most enigmatically charismatic turns in Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack, the tale of an American hustler whose main business it is to “satisfy the needs” of visiting businessmen in Vietnam War-era Singapore. Based upon the novel by Paul Theroux, Saint Jack marked the first of several critical comebacks for Bogdanovich in a humanist return to form matching The Last Picture Show.
Restoration courtesy of Shout! Factory and the American Genre Film Archive
THEY ALL LAUGHED
Dir. Peter Bogdanovich
USA, 1981; 115 mins, in English Rated PG
Using the detective genre to structure an autobiographical tale, Bogdanovich delivers deeply romantic insights about love, marriage and regret.Three men work for the Odyssey Detective Agency (John Ritter, Ben Gazzara, and Blaine Novak), where the investigators find their own complicated love lives entangled with the cases they are assigned to pursue. Audrey Hepburn, Colleen Camp and Dorothy Stratten also co-star in this hilarious and slightly melancholic comedy.
One of the 10 greatest films ever made according to Quentin Tarantino.
Sag Harbor Cinema
As a community based organization, Sag Harbor Cinema is dedicated to presenting the past, present and future of the Movies and to preserving the film-going experience in its three state-of-the-art theaters. The Cinema engages its audiences and the community year-round through dialogue, discovery, and appreciation of the moving image–from blockbusters to student shorts and everything in between. Revitalized and reimagined through unprecedented community efforts to rebuild the iconic Main Street structure after a fire nearly destroyed it in 2016. SHC continues a long historic tradition of entertainment in the heart of Sag Harbor Village. SHC Members enjoy discounts on tickets, merchandise, and food at our concession stand and cafe, as well as exclusive entry to the Cinema’s rooftop lounge, The Green Room.