LAST SUMMER
1969, Warner Bros., 95 min, USA, Dir: Frank Perry

Bruce Davison, Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas and Catherine Burns star in this aggressively unsentimental coming of age story. Director Frank Perry charts the behavior (and misbehavior) of a group of teens on Fire Island whose tastes for sex, drugs, and rock and roll devolve into more sinister interests as the summer progresses. Ultimately the characters' loss of innocence mirrors that of America in the decade during which the film was made and takes place.


MOMMIE DEAREST
1981, Paramount, 129 min, USA, Dir: Frank Perry

“Don’t fuck with me, fellas. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo!” Faye Dunaway scorches as Joan Crawford in this blistering exposé of the icon’s troubled and abusive relationship with her adopted daughter, Christina Crawford (who penned the memoir on which the film is based). Told from the perspective of grown-up Christina (Diana Scarwid) remembering her traumatic upbringing, “Mommie” Joan crumples under the pressures of alcohol, men and show business, and turns into an emotionally manipulative domestic monster. Though a critical disaster on its initial release, earning an abundance of Razzie Award wins and nominations, the film has since become a cult touchstone, thanks to a ferocious performance by Dunaway and no-holds-barred direction by Frank Perry (THE SWIMMER, PLAY IT AS IT LAYS). With Mara Hobel as young Christina, Steve Forrest as Joan’s Hollywood lawyer boyfriend, hopelessly loyal to MGM, and Howard Da Silva as the screaming studio titan himself, Louis B. Mayer.


THE SWIMMER
1968, Sony Repertory, 94 min, Dir: Frank Perry

One of the most unjustly neglected figures of the New Hollywood generation, director Frank Perry made 10 low-key, razor-sharp dissections of modern morals and relationships between 1962 and 1975. Based on John Cheever’s acclaimed novel, THE SWIMMER follows vigorous, middle-aged, upper-middle-class Burt Lancaster on a metaphoric journey swimming from backyard pool to backyard pool in his lush, upscale suburban neighborhood, headed toward a "home" that may no longer exist. A nostalgic portrait of regret and despair lying beneath the gemlike surface of suburbia - here represented by the sprawling, outlying suburbs of Connecticut - featuring one of Lancaster’s finest performances. [35mm]


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