Turning Point: Quick Cuts

The director dealt with death and love while shooting his first big film

I was 31 years old when I shot The Last Picture Show in Archer City and Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1970. At the end of those 10 tumultuous weeks, my life had changed completely.

Professionally, prior to 1970, I'd been an actor, an off-Broadway director and a film journalist, and I had made one low-budget film, Targets--a propitious beginning to my career. In my personal life, I had been married since the age of 22 to Polly Platt, and we had two small daughters. My father, a painter of the post-Impressionist school whom I greatly admired, was an undemonstrative man who...

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