Peter Fonda: Six Great Performances

David Parkinson at BFI:

For a brief moment, Peter Fonda was one of the most important people in American cinema. Not because he was the son of Hollywood stalwart Henry Fonda or the younger brother of activist actress Jane Fonda. But because he had made $60 million on a $384,000 road movie. Moreover, in producing, co-writing and starring in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider(1969), Fonda had shattered the studio system’s shackles and made himself a countercultural icon in the process. His performance as Wyatt (aka Captain America) prompted the Village Voice to declare him “a combination of Clint Eastwood and James Dean”. Yet, somehow, to paraphrase his famous campfire line, he blew it.

Having impressed with his directorial debut, The Hired Hand (1971), Fonda drew less praise for Idaho Transfer (1973) and Wanda Nevada (1979), the only film in which he appeared with his famous father, whose distant strictness after the 10-year-old’s mother had committed suicide shaped an unhappy childhood that included a near fatal incident with an antique gun (mention of which during a 1965 LSD party prompted John Lennon to write ‘She Said She Said’).

more here.

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