The films Hal Ashby made over the course of the 1970s are in many ways a pocket history of America in that decade. The generation gap, race relations, the retreat from Vietnam, Nixon, Watergate, anxiety over the nascent information age, the failure of sixties idealism and so much more are all here in these films. They are also a record of the high tide and decline of the ‘small’ films and human scale of the New American Cinema with the era of the blockbuster firmly ascendant by the end of the decade.
Ashby never again achieved the heights of this period, and his 1980s films are largely forgotten. He died in 1988, a reputation for megalomania and rumoured drug use having made him unemployable in Hollywood.
September 7 @ 9PM: Harold and Maude USA 1971 d. Hal Ashby with Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Ellen Greer and Cyril Cusack. Colour. 92m
September 14 @ 9PM: The Last Detail USA 1973 d. Hal Ashby with Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young, Carol Kane, Clifton James and Gilda Radner. Colour. 104m
September 21 @ 9PM: Shampoo USA 1975 d. Hal Ashby with Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden and Tony Bill. Colour. 106m
September 28 @ 9PM: Being There USA 1979 d. Hal Ashby with Peter Sellers, Shirley McLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Richard A. Dysart, Jack Warden, and Richard Basehart. Colour. 130m