The success of Hopper’s Easy Rider gave many young filmmakers the opportunity to work in Hollywood under the studio system. In 1970, Universal hired five “young genius” directors to make pictures for them. Hopper was one of these and developed a script with Steward Stern, the writer for Rebel Without a Cause , about the process of moviemaking and its effect on the natives of a remote and primitive village in Peru where it is being shot.
The Last Movie was the result – an amazing milieu of cinema and the decade it was created in. Hopper is a stunt man and wrangler on a big budget western, with which Hopper infused the presence of Sam Fuller, Sylvia Miles, Toni Basil, Henry Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Michelle Phillips, Dean Stockwell and the cinematography of Laszlo Kovacs. After the production leaves town, Hopper’s life starts to get a little insane, torn between a new movie producer in town, a buddy (the great Don Gordon) and his quest for gold, and the incredible, ritualistic movie being “shot” by the locals using a wicker camera and boom mike. Under the surface bubbles the genius of the film, dealing with friendship, loyalty, the superstitious nature of filmmaking and the notion of film genre.
Although it received the only award given at the 1971 Venice Film Festival, Universal refused to distribute the film unless Hopper re-edited it. Hopper was intransigent, and Universal gave The Last Movie only token distribution and the picture was shelved.
The odyssey of Dennis Hopper has been one of Hollywood’s longest, strangest trips. A onetime teen performer, he went through a series of career metamorphoses — studio pariah, rebel filmmaker, drug casualty, and comeback kid — before finally settling comfortably into the role of character actor par excellence, with a rogues’ gallery of killers and freaks unmatched in psychotic intensity and demented glee. Along the way, Hopper defined a generation, documenting the shining hopes and bitter disappointments of the hippie counterculture and bringing their message to movie screens everywhere. By extension, he spearheaded a revolt in the motion picture industry, forcing the studio establishment to acknowledge a youth market they’d long done their best to deny.
Born May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, Hopper began acting during his teen years, and made his professional debut on the TV series Medic. In 1955 he made a legendary collaboration with the director Nicholas Ray in the… read more
A freewheeling exchange of words, images, and song, in a hotel room with Mark Peranson, a disembodied Raya Martin, & filmmaker Kurt Walker.
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This movie is incredible. It has the reputation of being a horrible mess(thanks to Kit Carson’s great making of feature, American Dreamer), so some people may come in ready to hate it, but you will… read review