Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Dennis Hopper's Lost Opus Arrives in Pittsburgh, 47 Years Late

A follow-up to "Easy Rider," "The Last Movie" is a beautiful, if bizarre, piece of film history.




Photo courtesy Arbelos Films
 

After the success of the counterculture touchstone “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper was given a decent budget and carte blanche to make a follow-up film. That project, dubbed “The Last Movie,” was released in 1971.

Forty-seven years later, it’s finally getting a Pittsburgh release.

“The Last Movie,” an undeniably artful but bewildering adventure, played only during a two-week run in New York City upon its release (although rumors persist that it appeared sporadically on drive-in screens, under a different title.) The largely impenetrable film was seen as commercially worthless by Universal Pictures and shelved.

Despite its open defiance of most film convention — up to and including a shot of Hopper’s name on a clapperboard preceding one scene — many film scholars consider “The Last Movie” something of a masterpiece in the vein of similarly tough peers such as “El Topo” and Werner Herzog’s “Aguirre.” Calls for a re-release persisted throughout the late 20th century; before his death in 2010, Hopper spoke of plans for a DVD release.

Instead, “The Last Movie” is playing on limited screens around the country in a new, 4K restoration. In fits and starts — and quite possibly extended sequences that only exist in the drug- and sun-addled mind of its protagonist, played by Hopper — the film tells the story of a remote Peruvian village turned into a Hollywood-obsessed cult after the filming of an ill-fated western. Hopper’s character, a horse wrangler named Kansas, stays in town to find love and fortune.

Bizarre though many of its sequences are, “The Last Movie” is undeniably beautiful; the new restoration contains breathtaking photography and vivid imagery, paired in sharp contrast with gentle folk songs by Hopper’s longtime friend Kris Kristofferson and others.

While not quite experimental, “The Last Movie” is certainly atypical — in a way that all but guarantees that its appeal is limited to film buffs (and, perhaps, “Easy Rider” superfans). Difficult though it may be, it’s a fascinating piece of cinema history and a challenging objet d’art.

“The Last Movie” plays through Thursday, Sept. 13 at Row House Cinema.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Meet Kim Fox, the Artisan Making Tin Quilts

The Mt. Lebanon resident uses salvaged wood, tin and nails to create her pieces. Her work is now being showcased at Contemporary Craft in the Strip District.

Aquatic Playpen is Coming to the Shores of the Ohio River

The planned 2-acre lagoon along the Ohio riverfront will feature turquoise waters in the summer and be transformed into an ice rink in the winter.

These Couples Have Officially Won the Game of Love

There is no formula for finding love, but for these couples, there is one common factor: sports.

Beehive is Soon to Buzz No More in the 'Burgh

The South Side coffee shop home to Pittsburgh artists for almost 30 years is closing – but the legacy of its longtime resident coffee drinkers and thinkers lives on.

The Glow Promises to Get You in the Spooky Spirit

Featuring 5,000 Jack o'Lanterns, The Glow offers a way for all ages to get into the Halloween spirit without scaring you half to death.

Duolingo Co-Founder to Receive Major MIT Prize

The language-learning app is no stranger to the Pittsburgh news, but the business is making headlines once again thanks to an accomplishment by one of its creators.

Tom Hanks Will Be in Pittsburgh to Make Sure You Vote

Tom Hanks to speak at Pittsburgh’s Week of Action event, encouraging citizens to register to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Chiefs are a Better Barometer for Steelers than Browns

There is evidence to suggest Pittsburgh can be better against Kansas City.

Kate Romane and Mike Rado Return to Lawrenceville

The forthcoming TRYP Hotel is working with two prominent Pittsburgh chefs for its food and beverage program.

Lorelei Brings Outstanding Cocktails and Beer to Beloved Building

The owners of Hidden Harbor and Independent Brewing Company go alpine for their first East Liberty location.

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh (If You are a Coach for the Steelers)

After the past few years, we need to issue some guidelines for Steelers coaches out on the town.

A League of Their Own: 5 Buzzworthy Interior Designers

With an artistic bent and an eye for details, these MVPs of the residential interior designer scene are transforming Pittsburgh.

The 400-Word Review: The Predator

The latest visit to the action franchise is a noble try, but ultimately a bit of a mess.

A Tale of Two Kitchens

The Youngs and the Deatons both knew they wanted to overhaul their neighboring 1930s-era stone homes in Mt. Lebanon, but their contrasting tastes resulted in two distinct design styles.

PPG Goes Dark Again for Its Color of the Year

As the 2019 Color of the Year, PPG Paints chose Night Watch, a luxurious dark green. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.