Targets / Paper Moon / Daisy Miller Peter Bogdanovich

Targets / Paper Moon / Daisy Miller Peter Bogdanovich
Bogdanovich is America's answer to Truffaut — a journalist that stepped behind the camera — without all that groundbreaking cinema stuff. For his first few films he relied on homage and patterned his work on the classics. He is responsible for one masterpiece (The Last Picture Show — not included in this DVD package), a few good films (Paper Moon, Targets) and the occasional turkey (Daisy Miller). Made on a shoestring budget and using a discarded Boris Karloff film, Targets (1968) is strange mix of camp and tragedy; its contrast of old fashioned movie horror to what is truly horrific still carries weight. As an aging horror film star (Boris Karloff) decides to retire, a sniper takes to the streets of Los Angeles. 35 years later, the film feels almost prophetic. Paper Moon (1973) is a smart, touching movie that isn't too sentimental despite its family forging overtones. His style — long, languid shots with reserved close-ups, and no soundtrack other than radios playing — works perfectly in this film. It's also the downfall of Daisy Miller (1974), his adaptation of James's novella. The story moves too slowly and the action is too subtle; his technique of carefully choreographed scenes detracts from the story. I paid more attention to reflections in mirrors than the dialogue. Target's commentary is the most interesting; he's clearly excited by his first film, but all three commentaries suffer from repetition. (Do they assume people won't watch featurettes and listen to commentary?) And Bogdanovich should have more to say. He was friends with older directors (Ford, Welles, Fuller) and was a part of the '70s movie revolution. That he chooses to talk more about his relationships with Cybill Shepherd, Polly Platt and Dorothy Stratton is a disappointment. He also has the unfortunate habit of imitating the legends (no one should attempt Orson's voice, even if you could claim him as a close, personal friend). Bogdanovich comes across as slightly bitter for never getting the respect he deserves. This is true for Paper Moon but Daisy Miller proves he was on a downward spiral by the mid-'70s. Extras: Targets: director's commentary; featurette; Paper Moon: director's commentary; three featurettes; Daisy Miller: director's commentary; featurette. (Paramount)