A sad, affectionate remembrance by Steve McVicker of Eagle Pennell, the Texas independent film pioneer, director of The Whole Shootin’ Match — the movie that inspired Robert Redford to start the Sundance Film Festival. I met Eagle several times, went drinking once (once was more than enough, it turned out) and I profiled him for the Houston Post for the release of Last Night at the Alamo, Pennell’s 1983 portrait of Houston’s out-of-control development, as captured by the demise of a ramshackle bar and its loser-denizens.
After years of hard drinking and hard living on the streets in Houston, Pennell died in 2002. He was a few days short of 50. The King of Texas is a new documentary about Eagle, by his nephew Rene Pinnell.