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Old Boyfriends  /  Thieves Like Us

Thieves Like Us
January 25, 2019 - 7:30 pm
writer-director Joan Tewkesbury, author Maya Montañez Smukler.

Author and series co-curator Maya Montañez Smukler will sign copies of her new book, Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema, in the theater lobby before the screening.

Old Boyfriends  (1979)

Known for her work in The Godfather and the Rocky series, Talia Shire stars as a recently divorced psychiatrist in the midst of an identity crisis. Faced with an emotional breakdown, Cruise sets out on a road trip in search of her old flames, played by Richard Jordon, John Belushi and Keith Carradine. The film resembles something of a road movie with themes of revenge and romance, highlighted by a suspenseful score by David Shire, Talia’s husband. Independent producer Edward Pressman made the movie for an estimated $2.5 million and distributed it through his company Avco Embassy Pictures. Tewkesbury recalled the politics that brought her to the project: “Jeff Berg blackmailed Pressman into letting me direct my first movie, because [Pressman] had wanted to be in business with Paul Schrader.” The original screenplay, titled Old Girlfriends, was about a man going back to revisit his past relationships, “and then suddenly ‘women’s movies’ were hot,” Tewkesbury said sarcastically, “and so [Schrader] changed it to a girl going back on this journey.”

35mm, color, 103 min. Director: Joan Tewkesbury. Screenwriter: Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader. Cast: Talia Shire, Richard Jordan, John Belushi, Keith Carradine.

Thieves Like Us  (1974)

Frustrated with her role as suburban housewife, trained choreographer and theater director Tewkesbury, after pleading with revered filmmaker Robert Altman to let her shadow the production of McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) in Canada, was ultimately hired as script supervisor on that shoot. Pleased with their working relationship, Altman asked Tewkesbury to pen the screenplay for Thieves Like Us, his humanistic portrayal of a group of rural bank-robbers in the 1930s. Tempering its sketch of big-dreaming small timers with an affectionate appreciation of their emotional stakes, Tewkesbury’s script features a tender love story that forms the heart of the narrative under the pendulous promise of almost certain violence. Period atmosphere and detail warm this ultimately tragic tale with the glow of nostalgic Americana.

35mm, color, 124 min. Director: Robert Altman. Screenwriter: Joan Tewkesbury. Cast: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Bert Remsen, Louise Fletcher.