DENNIS HOPPER’S “THE LAST MOVIE” | THE FILM THAT BURIED A VISIONARY

Dennis Hopper and wife Daria Halprin at the Jack Tar Hotel San Francisco.

Dennis Hopper and wife Daria Halprin at the Jack Tar Hotel, San Francisco.

From The Village Voice–

The Last Movie was actually to be Hopper’s first. Inspiration hit him in Durango, Mexico, during the making of the John Wayne western The Sons of Katie Elder— “I thought, my God, what’s going to happen when the movie leaves and the natives are left living in these Western sets?” Hopper hoped to make The Last Movie in 1966 but the project fell through when music producer Phil Spector withdrew financial support; his opportunity came in the wake of Easy Rider. Universal gave Hopper $850,000 and total autonomy (including final cut), so long as he stayed within budget.

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 American actor and director Dennis Hopper on the set of his film "The last Movie"  --1971.

Actor and director Dennis Hopper on the set of his film “The last Movie”, 1971. — Image by © Apis/Sygma/Corbis

Given Easy Rider‘s epochal success, The Last Movie was the most eagerly awaited picture of 1971. After winning an award at the Venice Film Festival, Hopper’s opus opened in New York and broke the single-day box office record at the RKO 59th Street theater, site of Easy Rider‘s triumphant engagement. But unlike Hopper’s first film, The Last Movie was attacked and ridiculed by virtually every reviewer in America and was withdrawn by its distributor within two weeks. Although it achieved a negative notoriety unsurpassed until Heaven’s Gate,The Last Movie was not a financial boondoggle. Hopper’s sin wasn’t wasting money—it was something far worse. The Last Movie is an act of visionary aggression that desecrates Hollywood’s universal church.

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American actor and director Dennis Hopper on the set of his movie, 1971.  -- Image by © Apis/Sygma/Corbis

Actor and director Dennis Hopper on the set of his film “The Last Movie”, 1971. — Image by © Apis/Sygma/Corbis

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TSY Style Hall of Fame | Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons

Known for his brooding vibe, serpentine voice, long-limbed grace & eccentric style– Jeremy Irons is a man that few can reckon with.  Say what you will about his spotty role selection at times– when Irons is in his element, there is no one better or more mesmerizing.  Often referred to as “swoon fodder for the thinking woman”, he and his longtime wife Sinead share their time between County Cork, Ireland and England– where he can frequently be spotted flying down the bustling London streets on his BMW sportbike– headed perhaps to the Wolseley for a spot of tea.  

While dining with friends there a while back, I was introduced to the very charming and talented Christopher Bailey– the place is incredible.  Sorry, couldn’t leave that bit out– it was too good.

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The Curious Case of Captain Mike.

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3224004932_167011a908_bLook, let’s just be honest here.  We all know who the real star of Benjamin Button was– Captain Mike.  Jared Harris is the reason that I will remember this film at all.  He totally stole the movie right from under that pretty boy Brad Pitt.  Poor guy is going through a divorce right now from British actress Emilia Fox.  They say he’s dark and troubled waters– the sensitive, difficult type.  Yeah, and?  The guy’s Irish, and an actor.  Did you know he’s the son of the late, great Irish actor Richard Harris?  That definitely explains where he gets his acting chops.  Whatever they say about the guy– he is OK in my book.  Long live Captain Mike. Continue reading

Vintage Dillon, as in Matt Dillon.

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So– we can’t really talk about The Outsiders without acknowledging who was the King of 80’s teen cinema.  Even with the borderline unibrow he sported back then, Matt Dillon was undeniably King of the clearasil screen.   Yeah– I’m glad for Matt that he later found his comic side in films like There’s Something About Mary, and Herbie: Fully Loaded.  But personally speaking, I would much rather remember him as Moody in My Body Guard, Dallas in The Outsiders or Rusty James in Rumblefish.  The bad-boy Dillon as we knew back then ended with Drugstore Cowboy (directed by Gus Van Zant in 1989), which finally won him the critical acclaim and recognition he long deserved.

 

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HOLLYWOOD ICON JAMES DEAN’S NYC APARTMENT

JAMES DEAN NYC APARTMENT

James Dean’s New York City apartment

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What’s better than a piece about classic Hollywood Icons and their old pads?

The bull horns and matador cape were of special meaning to Dean.  He had read the novel Matador by Barnaby Conrad, and for a while was obsessed with dramatizing it as an internal monologue without words, using just a few props.  Dean also loved to play his bongo drum along to jazz records late into the night.   He hung with a small, close-knit circle of actor/artist friends.  Among them was a young Martin Landau.

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Steve McQueen | “The King of Cool”

Steve McQueen, CA 1963.

Steve Mcqueen is an icon–  and I still don’t think we appreciate this guy enough for all that he did in his lifetime.  McQueen personified the “anti-hero”.  A true man’s man who raced cars and motorcycles, and had a very enviable collection of both.  He even flew his own plane, for cryin’ out loud.  What a life this guy had.  He ran away from home at 14- joined the circus- joined the U.S.M.C.- went AWOL- was eventually honorably discharged- worked in a brothel- on an oil rigger- and was even a lumberjack.  Later he was an avid martial artist and friends with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.  It was McQueen that convinced Norris to take acting lessons, which could be considered a somewhat dubious distinction, but one that I’m sure Chuck greatly appreciates to this day.  

As seen above, McQueen was no stranger to the workout room and had an exercise regimen of two hours a day, everyday.  I love this shot for two reasons- McQueen of course, and his irrepressible charm- but also for it’s statement on simplicity.  It reminds me of life when things were simpler, and in my humble opinion- better.  To workout all you needed was an exercise bike, free-weights, jumprope, a chin-up bar and of course- a rope hanging from the ceiling.  

I remember when this was a part of phys. ed. class.  All of us anxiously lined-up in our tube socks, waiting our turn to try to pull ourselves up that rope.  If you could, you were the man, and if you couldn’t, well…  And look at what else- he’s wearing simple, classic grey sweatpants and they fit.  No fancy– wicking, moisture management, antimicrobial blah, blah, blah.  Cotton was the original, and still the best performance fabric.  

Steve McQueen was, and still is the one that every guy wants to be, and that every gal wants to be with.  Sometimes you just can’t improve upon the classics.

American Icons – Johnny Cash & Martin Guitars.

Country/Western singer Johnny Cash in recording studio.  Nashville, TN 1969

Johnny Cash is as real as they come, brother.  I feel sorry for poor lil’ Juaqiem Phoenix – trying to fill those big (white) shoes on screen.  The hard livin’, honky tonkin’, God lovin’ man in black.  God rest his soul.

The Legendary D45 by C. F. Martin & Co.

C.F. Martin & Co. have been making top quality guitars since 1796, and are still family owned and operated out of Nazareth, PA.  Martin is truly a guitar with few rivals in terms of quality, tone and boom- played by the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Guy Clark and many other music legends.  Martin is probably best known for their D-45 Dreadnought model (a little wider body and more squared shoulder), first crafted for Gene Autry in 1933.  In my book, both Johnny and Martin are true American Icons.

Link to Martin D45

 

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