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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

The Plot Thickens: TCM Presents A Virtual Conversation with Peter Bogdanovich and Ben Mankiewicz

Join TCM on August 27 beginning at 3PM ET | 12PM PT for a special FREE virtual event as Peter and Ben share memorable stories, great conversation and answer questions from TCM fans about Season 1 of The Plot Thickens.

Welcome to The Plot Thickens, a new documentary podcast about the movies and the people who make them. The first season is I’m Still Peter Bogdanovich, the tale of a young cinephile who became one of Hollywood’s top directors, only to crash and burn quickly in the next few years. As great as his abilities were while directing The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, Bogdanovich is most highly regarded as a renown Hollywood raconteur. In other words, he tells the best stories about the Golden Age of cinema and beyond.

The man's cinematic pedigree is very impressive, beginning with the noteriety he achieved for programming movies at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in the early 1960s where he prominently showcased the work of American directors such as John Ford, and Howard Hawks. Among the many celebrity friendships Bogdanavich cultivated throgough out his career, he struck up a life-long freindships with Orson Welles, and subsequently wrote a book on the great actor-director, "This is Orson Welles" (1992). In fact, he has steadily produced invaluable books about the cinema, such as "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors," which is regarded as indispensable reading for true cinephiles, and considered one of the premier chroniclers of cinema.

Bogdanovich's passion for old school cinema inevitably led to directing his third and most famous of seventeen feature films, The Last Picture Show in 1971. The then 32-year-old was hailed by critics as a "Wellesian" wunderkind, and the film received eight Academy Award nominations, including a nomination for Bogdanovich as Best Director, and wins for supporting actors Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson. His future seemed solid with the critically hailed, Paper Moon. Sadly, much like Welles, his second success proved to be the highwater mark of his career. So, his experiences both on set and behind the scenes granted him a lot of, nearly limitless, amazing stories about all of his interactions with Hollywood elite.

Now in his early eighties, Bogdanovich clearly has imitated his hero Orson Welles, but in an unintended fashion, as a type of monumental failure much beloved by the mythmakers of Hollywood. However, unlike the widely acclaimed master Welles, the orbit of Bogdanovich's reputation has never recovered from the apogee it reached briefly in the early 1970s. However, in 1998 the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress did induct The Last Picture Show to the National Film Registry, an honor awarded only to the most culturally significant films.

A true film historian, Bogdanovich has interviewed many of the important directors and stars from the "Golden Age of Hollywood", interviews which he compiled into a series of books. While his "relationships" with some of his subjects were mere brief encounters, others turned into long-lasting friendships. Along with Orson Welles, the legends he befriended were Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Renoir, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich and Jerry Lewis. Obviously, he has collected an enormous amount of facts and myths from the legends people adore. Truly, stories any classic film fan will love listening to episode after episode.

You can listen to The Plot Thickens in many places including from our website. It is also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more! Register today to reserve your virtual seat and submit your burning questions for Peter and Ben! You will receive additional event details as they are announced.


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