Paris, Texas


2h 25m 1984
Paris, Texas

Brief Synopsis

An amnesiac tries to find the family he lost.

Film Details

Also Known As
Paris, Texas, Parisi - Texas, Paríz, Párizs
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 25m

Synopsis

A drifter, who abandoned his family years back, decides to reunite with his wife and son.

Crew

Homer Albin

Transportation

Kate Altman

Art Director

Allison Anders

Production Assistant

Dominique Auvray

Sound Editor

Douglas Axtell

Boom Operator

Charles Balazs

Hair

Charles Balazs

Makeup

Birgitta Bjerke

Costume Designer

Arthur Blum

Best Boy

Lynn Brisbin

Transportation

Lorrie Brown

Assistant Editor

Lorrie Brown

Assistant Art Director

Kim Buckley

Property Master

Craig Busch

Props Assistant

Helen M Caldwell

Script Supervisor

Al Cantu

Transportation

L. M. Kit Carson

Writer (Adaptation)

L. M. Kit Carson

Screenplay

Gary Chason

Casting Director

Dianne Lisa Cheek

Production Coordinator

Ry Cooder

Music

Anatole Dauman

Executive Producer

Pascale Dauman

Associate Producer

Claire Denis

Assistant Director

Walter Donohue

Editor

Hartmut Eichgrun

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Roberta Elkins

Wardrobe Assistant

Susan Elkins

Location Manager

Robert K. Feldmann

Key Grip

Sarah Fitzsimmons

Production Coordinator

Kevin Galbraith

Electrician

Greg Gardiner

Gaffer

Agnfs Godard

Assistant Camera

Charlie Griffith

Transportation

Don Guest

Producer

Scott Guthrie

Best Boy

Michael Helfand

Assistant Director

Robin Holland

Photography

Carl Johnson

Transportation

Tom Kelton

Transportation

Scott Kirby

Production Assistant

Karen Koch

Production Manager

Patrick Kreuzer

Production Assistant

Anne Kuljian

Set Decorator

Dean Lent

Production Assistant

Barbara Lucey

Accountant

Lothar Mankewitz

Sound

Sherry Mcbride

Caterer

Jean-paul Mugel

Sound Mixer

Robby Muller

Director Of Photography

Bonna Newman

Production Assistant

Richard Padgett

Transportation

Sheila Possner

Casting

Peter Przygodda

Editor

Martin Schar

Photography

Anne Schnee

Assistant Editor

Sam Shepard

Screenplay

Chris Sievernich

Executive Producer

Lilyan Sievernich

Production Coordinator

B C Smith

Transportation

Jim Thompson

Location Manager

Pim Tjujerman

Assistant Camera

Joachim Von Mengershausen

Editor

Film Details

Also Known As
Paris, Texas, Parisi - Texas, Paríz, Párizs
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 25m

Articles

Paris, Texas


An amnesiac tries to find the family he lost.
Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas

An amnesiac tries to find the family he lost.

Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders' PARIS, TEXAS on DVD


The beautifully filmed Paris, Texas is German filmmaker Wim Wenders' attempt to bring his road-picture aesthetic to the American scene. After spending several years on Hammett, under the supervision of Francis Coppola, Wenders unwound with The State of Things, an anguished sketchbook film about the impossibility of moviemaking in the American system. The never-idle Wenders then enlisted cinematographer Robby Müller and cowboy playwright Sam Shepard for Paris, Texas, a freewheeling experiment in improvisatory methods. As he proudly remarks, there was not one day where he went to the set knowing exactly what he was going to shoot.

Although directed by a foreigner, Paris, Texas is one of the more interesting "American" independents of the 1980s. Emotionally invested in the Hollywood counterculture, Wenders brought actor Dean Stockwell back from semi-retirement and nominated as his hero the soulful Harry Dean Stanton, a character actor with a haggard face and haunted eyes. After 25 years playing quirky oddballs in big films (Alien, The Missouri Breaks) and marginal cult items (Wise Blood, Deathwatch), Stanton was Wenders' idea of star casting. Wenders was also not averse to making a film with commercial appeal -- as shown by the signing of the provocative Nastassja Kinski to play the film's mystery woman.

The movie is half Wenders road picture and half Sam Shepard "lonely motel" drama. An entire hour is spent establishing what's going on. A man (Stanton) walks out of the Texas desert and is nursed by a doctor from a local clinic, who calls Los Angeles in search of a reward. The patient is Travis Henderson, and his brother Walt (Stockwell) flies back to pick him up. Travis has been missing for four years and Walt and his wife Anne (Aurore Clément of Lacombe, Lucien) have been raising Travis's son Hunter (Hunter Carson) in his stead.

Walt finds Travis in an uncommunicative state. The clearly disturbed man tries to run away and for several days refuses to speak. Back in Los Angeles, Travis has a tentative reunion with Hunter and slowly wins the boy's acceptance. It's determined that some unstated disruption broke up Travis's family four years ago, causing both Travis and his wife Jane (Kinski) to run away. Perhaps worried that she will lose her "adopted" son, Anne slips Travis a clue as to how the long-lost Jane might be located. Without telling Walt, Travis prepares to go find his wife ... and when Hunter asks, takes him along on the search.

Paris, Texas takes its time with its slight story. Wenders concentrates on the landscapes and atmosphere of cross country driving. Wenders and Müller try not to revisit popular movie images of the Southwest, avoiding John Ford vistas, etc.. But the German tourist-director is a sucker for odd signage and kitschy attractions found along the road. The giant concrete dinosaur attractions in Cabazon are the same ones tapped for their camp appeal in Tim Burton's Pee Wee's Big Adventure. One deleted scene on Criterion's disc was filmed because Wenders was amused by a large roadrunner statue outside a Texas diner. Wenders seeks out locations that express the essence of America, a process that becomes rather transparent when Walt is shown to live in a featureless tract house perched over a smoggy view of a freeway and an airport. When Travis and Hunter converse, it's under an enormous web of freeway bridges, where no Angeleno normally parks his car.

Harry Dean Stanton plays the laconic loner with perfect pitch. The director knows that simply observing Stanton's worn, photogenic face is a scene in itself. A slow-thinking melancholic, Travis returns from the edge of sanity to reassemble the pieces of his broken life. This part of the movie is pure Sam Shepard: a despairing working-class guy yearns to atone for his sins and heal those he's wounded. Travis could have become a raving loony like the man he finds screaming on a freeway overpass, but his commitment to family realigns him as a man on a moral mission.

Wim Wenders films are often connected to others of his own works. The deranged "screaming man" (Tom Farrell) would seem a nod to the Science Fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Wenders brought Farrell back again seven years later, to play a similarly deranged (but sympathetic) terrorist in Until the End of the World.

Wenders' restless drifting finds its focus when Travis makes contact with lost wife Jane, now a performer of sexual fantasies in a seedy peep-show/ sex club/ brothel on the outskirts of Houston. The oddly cinematic setup of the peep show booth schematizes the difficulty of intimate communications between estranged lovers. Jane cannot see Travis through the one-way glass. Although Travis can see Jane, he remains a disembodied voice talking to her over a phone connection. Perverse as this may be, Travis's initial anonymity makes it possible for him to fully express his feelings and his wishes. The extended ten-minute scene for two that follows is the ultimate one-act play situation. Travis and Jane are "faraway so close", isolated in separate emotional compartments, connecting with just their feelings.

Wenders may have avoided visual nods to John Ford but Paris, Texas closely resembles a modernist reworking of The Searchers. This more self-aware Ethan Edwards also realizes that he is the discordant element who has no part in his own newly restored family. The melancholy film is contrived but sincere, and its emotional impact is considerable: these "experimentalist" filmmakers have rediscovered sentimentality. The bittersweet conclusion is almost identical to the "weepie" ending of the old soaper Stella Dallas. It also has the classical contours of the traditional folk song John Riley.

Criterion is releasing Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas in both Blu-ray and standard DVD formats; the HD version is a wonderful showcase for the heightened reality of Robby Müller's glowing color images. The color green suffuses Travis's "revival" at the ragged desert clinic as well as the conclusion in the parking lot, where green lights bathe the solitary searcher in a magical aura.

Composer Ry Cooder's slide guitar soundtrack sets the pace and the mood for Travis' lonely wanderings. In the disc extras Wenders explains that Cooder improvised in long takes one reel at a time, altering and improving his choices with numerous retakes. This, Wenders explains, is much the way the whole movie was made.

Criterion's extras are a fine introduction to the creative, independent Wim Wenders. The director's commentary emphasizes the importance of personal relationships and artistic freedom to his filming style and provides an anecdotal account of the production's wanderings across four states and a thousand miles.

Interviews include Roger Willemsen's talk with the director from 2001 (in German) and new input from Wenders' associates Allison Anders and Claire Denis. Ry Cooder works with Wenders in a 1984 piece from French television. A long-form (but reportedly cut-down) 1990 career docu on Wenders features input from a gallery of collaborators, including Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper, Hanns Zischler, Patricia Highsmith and Sam Fuller.

Other items include a compilation of deleted scenes and Wenders' location scouting photos; unit photographer Robin Holland's cast and crew photos, and a theatrical trailer. A thick insert booklet has input from essayist Nick Roddick and interviews with Stanton, Shepard, Kinski and Stockwell, as well as excerpts from a Wenders photo book. Criterion's disc producer is Susan Arosteguy.

For more information about Paris, Texas, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Paris, Texas, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders' PARIS, TEXAS on DVD

The beautifully filmed Paris, Texas is German filmmaker Wim Wenders' attempt to bring his road-picture aesthetic to the American scene. After spending several years on Hammett, under the supervision of Francis Coppola, Wenders unwound with The State of Things, an anguished sketchbook film about the impossibility of moviemaking in the American system. The never-idle Wenders then enlisted cinematographer Robby Müller and cowboy playwright Sam Shepard for Paris, Texas, a freewheeling experiment in improvisatory methods. As he proudly remarks, there was not one day where he went to the set knowing exactly what he was going to shoot. Although directed by a foreigner, Paris, Texas is one of the more interesting "American" independents of the 1980s. Emotionally invested in the Hollywood counterculture, Wenders brought actor Dean Stockwell back from semi-retirement and nominated as his hero the soulful Harry Dean Stanton, a character actor with a haggard face and haunted eyes. After 25 years playing quirky oddballs in big films (Alien, The Missouri Breaks) and marginal cult items (Wise Blood, Deathwatch), Stanton was Wenders' idea of star casting. Wenders was also not averse to making a film with commercial appeal -- as shown by the signing of the provocative Nastassja Kinski to play the film's mystery woman. The movie is half Wenders road picture and half Sam Shepard "lonely motel" drama. An entire hour is spent establishing what's going on. A man (Stanton) walks out of the Texas desert and is nursed by a doctor from a local clinic, who calls Los Angeles in search of a reward. The patient is Travis Henderson, and his brother Walt (Stockwell) flies back to pick him up. Travis has been missing for four years and Walt and his wife Anne (Aurore Clément of Lacombe, Lucien) have been raising Travis's son Hunter (Hunter Carson) in his stead. Walt finds Travis in an uncommunicative state. The clearly disturbed man tries to run away and for several days refuses to speak. Back in Los Angeles, Travis has a tentative reunion with Hunter and slowly wins the boy's acceptance. It's determined that some unstated disruption broke up Travis's family four years ago, causing both Travis and his wife Jane (Kinski) to run away. Perhaps worried that she will lose her "adopted" son, Anne slips Travis a clue as to how the long-lost Jane might be located. Without telling Walt, Travis prepares to go find his wife ... and when Hunter asks, takes him along on the search. Paris, Texas takes its time with its slight story. Wenders concentrates on the landscapes and atmosphere of cross country driving. Wenders and Müller try not to revisit popular movie images of the Southwest, avoiding John Ford vistas, etc.. But the German tourist-director is a sucker for odd signage and kitschy attractions found along the road. The giant concrete dinosaur attractions in Cabazon are the same ones tapped for their camp appeal in Tim Burton's Pee Wee's Big Adventure. One deleted scene on Criterion's disc was filmed because Wenders was amused by a large roadrunner statue outside a Texas diner. Wenders seeks out locations that express the essence of America, a process that becomes rather transparent when Walt is shown to live in a featureless tract house perched over a smoggy view of a freeway and an airport. When Travis and Hunter converse, it's under an enormous web of freeway bridges, where no Angeleno normally parks his car. Harry Dean Stanton plays the laconic loner with perfect pitch. The director knows that simply observing Stanton's worn, photogenic face is a scene in itself. A slow-thinking melancholic, Travis returns from the edge of sanity to reassemble the pieces of his broken life. This part of the movie is pure Sam Shepard: a despairing working-class guy yearns to atone for his sins and heal those he's wounded. Travis could have become a raving loony like the man he finds screaming on a freeway overpass, but his commitment to family realigns him as a man on a moral mission. Wim Wenders films are often connected to others of his own works. The deranged "screaming man" (Tom Farrell) would seem a nod to the Science Fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Wenders brought Farrell back again seven years later, to play a similarly deranged (but sympathetic) terrorist in Until the End of the World. Wenders' restless drifting finds its focus when Travis makes contact with lost wife Jane, now a performer of sexual fantasies in a seedy peep-show/ sex club/ brothel on the outskirts of Houston. The oddly cinematic setup of the peep show booth schematizes the difficulty of intimate communications between estranged lovers. Jane cannot see Travis through the one-way glass. Although Travis can see Jane, he remains a disembodied voice talking to her over a phone connection. Perverse as this may be, Travis's initial anonymity makes it possible for him to fully express his feelings and his wishes. The extended ten-minute scene for two that follows is the ultimate one-act play situation. Travis and Jane are "faraway so close", isolated in separate emotional compartments, connecting with just their feelings. Wenders may have avoided visual nods to John Ford but Paris, Texas closely resembles a modernist reworking of The Searchers. This more self-aware Ethan Edwards also realizes that he is the discordant element who has no part in his own newly restored family. The melancholy film is contrived but sincere, and its emotional impact is considerable: these "experimentalist" filmmakers have rediscovered sentimentality. The bittersweet conclusion is almost identical to the "weepie" ending of the old soaper Stella Dallas. It also has the classical contours of the traditional folk song John Riley. Criterion is releasing Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas in both Blu-ray and standard DVD formats; the HD version is a wonderful showcase for the heightened reality of Robby Müller's glowing color images. The color green suffuses Travis's "revival" at the ragged desert clinic as well as the conclusion in the parking lot, where green lights bathe the solitary searcher in a magical aura. Composer Ry Cooder's slide guitar soundtrack sets the pace and the mood for Travis' lonely wanderings. In the disc extras Wenders explains that Cooder improvised in long takes one reel at a time, altering and improving his choices with numerous retakes. This, Wenders explains, is much the way the whole movie was made. Criterion's extras are a fine introduction to the creative, independent Wim Wenders. The director's commentary emphasizes the importance of personal relationships and artistic freedom to his filming style and provides an anecdotal account of the production's wanderings across four states and a thousand miles. Interviews include Roger Willemsen's talk with the director from 2001 (in German) and new input from Wenders' associates Allison Anders and Claire Denis. Ry Cooder works with Wenders in a 1984 piece from French television. A long-form (but reportedly cut-down) 1990 career docu on Wenders features input from a gallery of collaborators, including Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper, Hanns Zischler, Patricia Highsmith and Sam Fuller. Other items include a compilation of deleted scenes and Wenders' location scouting photos; unit photographer Robin Holland's cast and crew photos, and a theatrical trailer. A thick insert booklet has input from essayist Nick Roddick and interviews with Stanton, Shepard, Kinski and Stockwell, as well as excerpts from a Wenders photo book. Criterion's disc producer is Susan Arosteguy. For more information about Paris, Texas, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Paris, Texas, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Shown at Pacific Film Archive (A Producer's Vision: Anatole Dauman) in Berkeley, California July 1, 1990.

The Country of France

Released in United States Fall November 1, 1984

Released in United States July 1, 1990

Released in United States November 1984

Released in United States September 1984

Shown at New York Film Festival September 1984.

Released in United States July 1, 1990 (Shown at Pacific Film Archive (A Producer's Vision: Anatole Dauman) in Berkeley, California July 1, 1990.)

Released in United States September 1984 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 1984.)

Released in United States November 1984 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States Fall November 1, 1984