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Harry Dean Stanton, and the Movies That Broke Him Free


Harry Dean Stanton in Alex Cox’s “Repo Man” (1984).

Universal Pictures/Photofest, via Quad Cinema

With “Lucky,” opening Friday, Sept. 29, Harry Dean Stanton, who died this month, landed the role of a lifetime as a 90-year-old, desert-town atheist seeking spiritual enlightenment as he confronts the void beyond. (This directorial debut from John Carroll Lynch was written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja with Mr. Stanton in mind.) In “Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton,” Sept. 22-Oct. 1, the Quad Cinema in Manhattan rolls out 21 movies that propelled the laconic character actor and his soulfully furrowed countenance to cult stardom. The lineup includes B. L. Norton’s “Cisco Pike,” Monte Hellman’s “Cockfighter,” Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and Howard Deutch’s “Pretty in Pink,” as well as Mr. Stanton’s first real lead, in Alex Cox’s “Repo Man” (1984), and his breakthrough months later as a mostly silent drifter yearning to reconnect with his estranged family in Wim Wenders’s “Paris, Texas.” Mr. Stanton won the part after he confessed to its writer Sam Shepard, who died in July, in a Santa Fe bar that he longed “to play something of some beauty or sensitivity.” (quadcinema.com)

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