Cliff Robertson's debut as director emerges as very flawed but sufficiently interesting to deserve escape from total neglect. The film's benefits are pretty much on the fringe, all the more so because it treads ground already covered by Junior Bonner. It's a pity, then, that the film gets hung up on its own narrative development, with Coop's efforts to win the rodeo championship (too lazy to work, too scared to steal) and his relationship (embarrassing) with a hippie girl, because Robertson's at his best with the peripheries. This comes over strongest in the first half-hour, with Coop trying to pick up the threads after ten years in prison, only to find that there aren't any. Above all he makes you understand what it's like to have been away for that long through observing his own reactions: talking to a man about his brother who has made it big; watching a couple of women going bowling; sitting drinking; realising that everything's different but that nothing much has changed. The decaying small towns have a feel that Bogdanovich, for all his painstaking efforts, never realised in The Last Picture Show.