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Somewhere Cinematic: Hollywood Movies On Hollywood
Posted December 02, 2010 to photo album "Somewhere Cinematic: Hollywood Movies On Hollywood"
Sofia Coppola’s award-winning Somewhere is the latest in a line of films that examines movies and movie stars. Nick Dawson casts an eye over some of the best.
Slide 7: Nickelodeon (1976)
A film critic and movie programmer before he became a director, Peter Bogdanovich is a filmmaker who has a boundless love of cinema and is steeped in its history. Unique among his New Hollywood peers as a director with an old-fashioned sensibility, Bogdanovich in 1976 looked back to the early days of Hollywood with the nostalgic Nickelodeon. In his review of the movie, Roger Ebert wrote, “Bogdanovich has paid homage to that era of filmmaking in several of his films; The Last Picture Show had the lean and evocative look of a John Ford film, and What's Up, Doc? was a screwball comedy in the Hawks style. But before Hawks, before Ford, there was an earlier generation, the first Hollywood generation. And Nickelodeon is about that generation, about the pioneers who took a toy and made it into an industry.” The film’s plot – about Ryan O’Neal’s Leo Harrigan, a lawyer who gets involved in the film industry, first as a writer and then a director – was inspired by conversations Bogdanovich had conducted years earlier with veteran directors like Alan Dwan and Raoul Walsh, prolific Hollywood helmers who had come up through the system in the silent days. Bogdanovich was keen to take up his friend and mentor Orson Welles’ suggestion to shoot the movie in black-and-white (as he had done with his breakthrough hit, The Last Picture Show), however commercial considerations prevented him from being able to do so. He did, however, get his way with another retro stunt: on the movie’s opening day, patrons paid only five cents for admission, bringing back the prices of the original nickelodeons.