‘Hal’ Trailer Explores the Cinematic Legacy of a Great American Director

Written by on August 17, 2018 


There aren’t many American directors working today with the patience and warmth of Hal Ashby (except perhaps one) and he’s now getting an appreciation in the form on a new documentary. The director behind Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Being There, and more is the subject of Hal, which premiered at Sundance, and is now getting a release next month.

Featuring the likes of Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, David O. Russell, Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro, the film takes an in-depth look at his approach to filmmaking and his enormous impact. Ahead of the release, Magnolia Pictures has debuted the first trailer for Amy Scott’s documentary, which can be seen below along with the poster.

Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water.


Hal opens on September 14.

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