The last performance: on the death of Hollywood legend Peter Bogdanovic

Few loved and enriched cinema as much as the director, actor and film critic Peter Bogdanovic. Now the defining figure of New Hollywood has died at the age of 82.

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Beyond the usual glitz, a small group of filmmakers discovered European auteur cinema as a source of inspiration for a grainy narrative of American reality in the 1970s. To this day, the New Hollywood era rises like a monolith from the common mash of well-known blockbusters and is still considered an important blueprint for contemporary independent film.

In addition to icons like Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovic also shaped the era of New Hollywood and created perhaps its most beautiful representative with the melancholy small-town ballad “The Last Performance”. But the former film critic could also do otherwise. With the turbulent screwball comedy “Is’ was, Doc?” With Barbra Streisand, he paid homage to classic cinema of the 1930s, especially directors like Howard Hawks and Frank Capra, and thus created a blockbuster himself that recommended him for higher tasks. But Peter Bogdanovic did without many lucrative offers and preferred to devote himself to more personal projects, which, however, met with less and less response. Perhaps also a reason why his name is far too seldom mentioned by the general public when it comes to listing important Hollywood legends.

Like many of his guild, director Guillermo del Toro pays tribute to the deceased and also refers in his tweet to his work as a chronicler of Hollywood, with which Peter Bogdanovic was also able to make a name for himself.

Underestimated late work and a visit to the Sopranos

Like many who shaped New Hollywood, Peter Bogdanovic had to grapple with commercial failures and financial hardships from the 1980s onwards. He worked increasingly as an actor, for example in a guest role with the “Sopranos” and also took on commissioned works for television. But he remained loyal to the cinema, including a largely overlooked sequel to “The Last Performance”, which completely wrongly failed to find its audience in the 1990s. So it is high time for a posthumous rehabilitation of the late masterpiece called “Texasville”.

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