Where on the Shelf Is...The Last Movie?
Up this week is...THE LAST MOVIE
What Is It?:
For the bulk of the 1960s, Hollywood was dominated by musicals (MY FAIR LADY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, MARY POPPINS), epics (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, CLEOPATRA, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO) and a spy named Bond.
Then, film school let out and the Movie Brats stormed Hollywood. Among the inaugural graduating class were Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Bogdanovich, Hal Ashby, Arthur Penn, Robert Altman, and, of course, Dennis Hopper.
Up to that point, Hopper had a career as a bit player, a face sharing screen time with the likes of James Dean, Kirk Douglas and Paul Newman. But it was 1969's EASY RIDER--which he directed, co-wrote and starred in--that established him as something: a Hollywood renegade with immense talent and a vast collection of drugs.
After EASY RIDER won at Cannes, took in $42 million at the box office and earned two Oscar nominations, studios gave Hopper free rein, which is exactly as dangerous and ill-advised as you'd imagine giving Hopper free rein would be.
The result was THE LAST MOVIE. Filmed in Peru and under the influence of, oh, everything, the movie was an immediate critical and commercial failure and ended Hopper's directing career for close to a decade.
Where Is It?:
For the majority of the film's existence, Universal Studios held the rights to THE LAST MOVIE, which the studio saw no way to profit from and so kept hidden. Considering Universal's highly bankable catalogue, THE LAST MOVIE wasn't exactly one of their top-priority titles--unlike those that could be turned into state-of-the-art amusement park rides.
Then, in 2006, Hopper unveiled he had acquired the rights and had a DVD release in mind. Even still, the four year period between that announcement and Hopper's death to prostate cancer in 2010 produced absolutely nothing for fans to pick up in video stores.
For now, we're without THE LAST MOVIE and stuck with so many Dennis Hopper movies we simply can't unsee.
When Will We See It?:
Much of that depends on where the rights ended up after Hopper's death.
Earlier this year, it was reported that his nine-year-old daughter, Galen, would inherit 40% off her father's estate, while his other three children would split close to 60%.
If the rights to THE LAST MOVIE sit somewhere in that near-100%, then it's very likely that the kin he's survived by would want to see one of their father's most (in)famous works make it to DVD and Blu-ray. If, by a sick twist of fate, his widow Victoria receives any remaining portions of the estate and winds up with the rights to THE LAST MOVIE, then we can expect to see a DVD the same day we see Frank Booth's Pound Puppies collection.
Why would she withhold a movie that could potentially make her the millions her late husband denied her? Just to just to prove how "insane" and "inhuman" she may or may not be (but probably is.)
Where Can We See It?:
Hopper's death no doubt stirred new interest in his work, with THE LAST MOVIE being one of the essentials. So it's no surprise that it turned up on YouTube less than two months after he died.
Speaking in terms of profit, if you multiple the embedded video's 11,500 views by a $20 price tag for a Blu-ray, that's, um…a whole lot of LSD or something, man.