Peter Bogdanovich sits down with one of his filmmaking heroes, Alfred Hitchcock, for a wide-ranging conversation about Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rear Window and more. Plus, Hitchcock shares stories about being arrested as a child, appearing in his own movies, and why he doesn’t like eggs.
For our first bonus episode, Peter Bogdanovich interviews director Howard Hawks in the Palm Springs desert in April 1972. Hawks tells Peter how he got started in showbiz and provides insight into many of his best movies, including Rio Bravo, The Dawn Patrol, His Girl Friday, Hatari! and Scarface.
“It was like Camelot was exploded and just burned to the ground.”
Grief-stricken for years, Peter finally goes back behind the camera and ends up shooting one of his most popular films. But he sues the studio before the movie is released, further endangering his career. While trying to recover, Peter once again becomes a target of the press after he marries Dorothy’s sister.
“This is the hardest moment in my life.”
Alone for the first time, Peter finds love in an unexpected place: the Playboy Mansion. His passionate romance with Playmate Dorothy Stratten ignites his creativity, culminating in his best movie in years. But Peter’s life is forever changed by a devastating murder and a series of disastrous financial decisions.
“Peter has always been prudish, sheltered, didn’t drink, didn’t do dope – and what was this?”
Feeling betrayed, Orson Welles humiliates Peter on national television. So Peter heads overseas to shoot a daring new movie, filming in secret to evade government censors. While his career starts to recover, he embarks on an affair with his new leading lady – causing his relationship with Cybill to crumble.
“They suck up to you, but at the same time, they hate you. Hollywood is a very weird place.”
Following The Last Picture Show, Peter directs two more major hits, What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. But then his wife leaves him, and his next three movies are high-profile flops. As his relationship with Cybill is splashed across the tabloids, Peter finds himself despised by the public and ostracized in Hollywood.
“My marriage broke up. My father died. I fell in love with Cybill and all that happened while we were shooting this picture.”
Peter challenges himself to film an “unfilmable” book and creates one of the seminal movies of the 1970s: The Last Picture Show. His actors win Academy Awards and the accolades pour in, including comparisons to Orson Welles himself. But Peter risks losing his family after an affair with his leading lady, Cybill Shepherd.
“Peter brought me film; I brought him life.”
Peter meets Polly Platt, his closest creative collaborator – and soon, his young wife. The newlyweds drive across the country to break into the movie business, starting with a low-budget directing gig for Roger Corman. And Peter finally meets Orson Welles, who becomes an important mentor to the eager young filmmaker.
“Success is hard to handle, and then failure after success is even harder.”
A young film buff grows up in New York, learning to obsess over the movies the way his father obsesses over art. With his sights set on acting, Peter lies his way into the most prestigious acting class in the world. That’s where he unexpectedly finds his calling as a director – by sparring with one of the biggest TV stars of all time.
Peter Bogdanovich was a young cinephile who quickly rose to become one of Hollywood’s top directors. But he soon found himself a victim of jealousy, hubris, public scorn – and a devastating crime. Now, he looks back on a life of fame and failure, and through it all, an enduring love of the movies. A new seven-part documentary podcast from Turner Classic Movies.
Learn more about the first season of The Plot Thickens, the new podcast from Turner Classic Movies.