Don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet, but the American film director Peter Bogdanovich has died, back on the 6th of January. He was a young film critic who became a director when the great inventive cheapskate American film-producer Roger Corman asked him to make any film he wanted so long as it used footage from a failed attempted gothic horror movie of his own starring Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson. Bogdanovich used the footage as a movie-within-a-movie in the 1968 film 'Targets', where an aging old horror actor doing a press junket for his new b-movie at a drive-in theatre encounters the modern horror of a purposeless sniper firing at the audience. Made on a budget of $130,000 it made for a powerful cut-price debut.
Bodganovich went on to make the great American coming of age classic 'The Last Picture Show', a sort of elegy set in a dying Texan town and thought to be one of the best American movies ever made. This was followed by the screwball comedy 'What's Up Doc' starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, which is surprisingly excellent. He chalked up another success after that with Paper Moon, a depression era Preston Sturges style downbeat comedy about two grifters, one of whom is a nine year old girl. The kid, Tatum O'Neal (playing against her dad) became the youngest actor ever to win an Oscar at just ten years old.
Though the films dipped somewhat in quality following this incredible four-movie debut, he managed a fairly decent acting career on the side, appearing in the Sopranos and - funnily enough - Kill Bill Parts 1 & 2.