‘The Last Movie’, Dennis Hopper’s follow-up to the massive financial and cultural hit ‘Easy Rider’ received a rare screening this past Friday (25TH April) at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood.
After an accident on a film set production is closed down. Disillusioned production manager Kansas, played by Hopper, decides to stay in the village and live out a peaceful existence. But things don’t quite work that way. The film was Hopper’s attempts to further the avant-garde filming and editing techniques that he had been exploring with ‘Easy Rider’. The making-of the film has passed into film folk-lore, with tales of drug fuelled guerrilla style shooting. By all accounts Hopper became crazed with his attempts to shoot another masterpiece that would further the development of how films were made in terms of production and content.
Breaking the fourth-wall, improvised dialogue, scattershot cutting lead the majority of critics to declare the film as an incomprehensible mess on its initial release. Hopper refused to re-edit the film to satisfy the Universal studio heads and the film quickly fell away into obscurity despite an initial fever-pitch excitement for it. Hopper wouldn’t direct another film for nearly a decade.
Now looked on with fascination as a product of its time ‘The Last Movie’ has been remastered and was screened at an event organised by The Hollywood Reporter and The Hopper Art Trust for an audience of Dennis Hopper’s relatives, friends and some enemies. The special screening was even introduced by Hopper via a video recorded soon before his death. By all accounts the screening was a success, so now we can hope that we mere film watching mortals might get a chance to see for ourselves this intriguing piece of counter-culture cinema.