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A Tribute to Larry McMurtry

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Join us this August as we pay tribute to the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, Texas’s most famous literary and cinematic son, who passed away in March 2020. Through his books, screenplays, and the films adapted from his books, some feel that McMurtry, more than anyone else, shaped the way that the world sees Texas. 

Guest host and McMurtry devotee Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will kick off our exploration of McMurtry’s cinematic works, including Hud, The Last Picture Show, Texasville, and Lonesome Dove. Film scholar and SXSW co-founder Louis Black will join remotely.

McMurtry grew up on a ranch in North Texas with only an oral tradition of storytelling, never seeing a book until he was six years old. His stories jumped through many media—print, film, television—and in each he excelled, garnering 13 Oscars, 7 Emmys, and a Pulitzer in 1985 for his novel Lonesome Dove.

It has been said that what the South was to William Faulkner, Texas was to Larry McMurtry. His passion for the land and people made it impossible for him to fully inhabit the self-proclaimed role of "western revisionist." Even when he depicts Texas at its worst, he only makes you love it, and him, more.

Bud Kennedy
Bud Kennedy is the dean of Dallas-Fort Worth newspaper columnists. A homegrown Texan and Fort Worth guy, he started out covering high school sports for the Star-Telegram in September 1971, six weeks before the premiere of The Last Picture Show. Covering his passions—news, politics, and food—for 30 years, he has reported from seven national political conventions, a presidential inauguration, two Super Bowls, and the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

He has written often about Texas writers, first meeting Larry McMurtry in his "Booked Up" store in Washington, DC, and writing about his work and life as a bookseller. Kennedy covered McMurtry’s guest role at the reopening of the Royal Theater in Archer City. He can tell you where the name "Lonesome Dove" came from—and what restaurant gave the writer the name.

Louis Black
Dr. Louis Black is a legendary cultural force in Texas’s film world. As a co-founder of SXSW, he helped originate the festival’s film component. His love of film dates to his teens when he would skip school with friend Leonard Maltin to visit film sets (once meeting Buster Keaton) and watch as many films as possible. He obtained a master’s degree and Ph.D. in film from the University of Texas at Austin. He was an original board member of the Austin Film Society, led by Richard Linklater. In 2000, along with Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith, he launched AFS’s “Texas Film Hall of Fame.”
Most recently he co-directed the documentary Dream is Destiny about Richard Linklater. He was the executive producer of Be Here to Love Me, A Film About Townes Van Zandt and was a producer on the Peabody Award-winning The Order of Myths. He has focused recently on reissues of classic Texas films (Eagle Pennell's The Whole Shootin' Match and Tobe Hooper's Eggshells) and is also working on documentaries and narrative films. 


Lonesome Dove 
July 31, Part I noon & Part II 2 pm  
August 1, Part III & IV 4:30 pm

Prepare yourself for a cinematic experience as epic as a Texas cattle drive! More than any other work of McMurtry’s, Lonesome Dove showcases his extraordinary storytelling abilities. We’re showing this four-part miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel in its entirety during a fun summer weekend marathon session. The television miniseries stars Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones and was directed by Simon Wincer. Originally broadcast in 1989, the series drew a huge viewing audience, earning numerous awards and reviving the television Western.

An estimated 26 million homes tuned in to watch Lonesome Dove, unusually high numbers for a genre considered dead by most people. An enduring favorite with audiences, as well as critics, the Western garnered many honors and awards. At the 1989 Emmy Awards, the miniseries had 18 nominations and seven wins, including one for Wincer. Lonesome Dove also won two Golden Globes, for Best Miniseries and Best Actor in a Miniseries (Duvall).

Join us for this special opportunity to see this great work of art on a large screen. 

Hud - August 7, 2 pm

Hud, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, was a critical and commercial success at its general release. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three: Patricia Neal won Best Actress, Melvyn Douglas won Best Supporting Actor, and James Wong Howe won for Best Black and White Cinematography. Howe's use of contrast to create space and his selection of black-and-white was acclaimed by critics. In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

Based on McMurtry’s novel Horseman Pass By, Hud is a 1963 American Western drama film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Brandon de Wilde, and Patricia Neal. Hud was filmed on location in the plaintive nether regions of the Texas Panhandle and was one of the first revisionist Westerns, choosing to showcase an antihero rather than the typical triumphalist.

The film centers on the ongoing conflict between principled patriarch Homer Bannon and his unscrupulous and arrogant son, Hud, during an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that put the family's cattle ranch at risk. Lonnie, Homer's grandson and Hud's nephew, is caught in the conflict and forced to choose which character to follow.

The Last Picture Show/50th Anniversary - August 14, 2 pm 

Hold onto your cowboy hats! This coming-of-age drama about 1950s Texas town life is one of the most important films in American cinematic history. In 1998, the Library of Congress selected this film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry because of its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. This bellringer from the American film renaissance of the seventies, directed by Peter Bogdonavich, includes an ensemble cast of Jeff Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Cybil Shepard, Ellen Burstyn, and Ben Johnson. Featuring evocative black-and-white imagery and extraordinary performances, this is film has earned its place in the crown of cinematic America.  

Based on the semi-autobiographical 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry, The Last Picture Show was theatrically released on October 22, 1971, by Columbia Pictures. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $29 million on a $1.3 million budget, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Johnson and Bridges, and Best Supporting Actress for Burstyn and Leachman, with Johnson and Leachman winning.

Texasville - August 15, 4:30 pm

There are so many things to love about this movie. For starters, it’s directed by Peter Bogdonavich and co-written by Bogdonovich and Larry McMurty, getting the band back together for a return tour. The rest of the extraordinary ensemble cast from The Last Picture Show is here, too, 20 years later, and continues McMurtry’s ongoing exploration of what it means to be Texan.   

The summer is 1984 and there is a Friday Night Lights–meets–The Big Chill feeling in Anarene, Texas, as it prepares for its centennial celebration. This is fully mature McMurtry, exploring time, place, love, loss, and, most of all, friendships of the deepest order. All of the characters remain yearbook-picture fresh in memory, which adds yet another layer of meaning. The two decades have wrought many changes, and revelations, too. The romance between Dwayne (Jeff Bridges) and Jaycee (Cybil Shepard) has matured into something Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn would be proud of. Join us for more Texas time travel.

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3200 Darnell Street · Fort Worth, TX 76107