Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Altman RIP

American film director Robert Altman has died. I reviewed his A Prairie Home Companion a few weeks back and have followed Altman's films for more than 30 years - a more complete review of some of his best films is here. Tributes to the cantankerous old man are here, here and here.

Altman is one of the greats of modern cinema. II'll miss those waits until his next movie is released. Who in America could ever replace him?


jack said...

The answer to that is Paul Thomas Anderson. (Filmies will recognise the implicit bon mot here.)

Altman was a rebel after my own heart, and I too loved his films, most of them.

He was a habital drunk, gambler and later, an inveterate dope smoker, and would become a mentor to the up-coming filmmakers of the 70s (!). It has to be remembered that he was quite old even then, serving as a pilot of a B-24 in WWII.

According to Peter Biskind's Easy Riders Raging Bulls book, subtitled 'How the sex and drugs rock 'n roll generation saved Hollywood' - and highly recommended - Altman's first career was in TV, directing Hawaiian Eye, Maverick and Combat. But at some stage he refused to do any more TV and instead lived off his wife's child support payments (see? this is where Milton Friedman's theory falls apart), occasionally having a win at the track. How can one not relatre to that?

According to Biskind, Altman "was the kind of person who liked to stir the pot, betray a confidence to get a reaction, told someone what someone else said behind her back, making it up if necessary, just for the fun of it."

Vale Brewster McCloud.

hc said...

Jack, Brewster McCloud was Altman's favourite Altman movie and my favourite too - though Nashville came a close second. I thought Stacy Keach and Bud Cort in BMc superb.

The extra's on the DVD of a Prairie Home Companion provide a fascinating insight into his directorship. He did leave it up to the performers - they just had to keep things vaguely on plot - while he got on with doing something really important, like the accounts or the invoices.

I heard he had a liking for that white powder.

What a loss!

Anonymous said...

My favourite Altman film is McCabe & Mrs Miller.

It's very sad news.

Brownie said...

Mr Kalimna, That (uncredited) photograph you ran is wonderful.

Yes Lucy - after seeing Mrs.Millers carpetbag I made a copy and still have it 30+ years later.

And I loved Brewster McCloud too - the car registration of the Sally Kellerman character was BRD-SHT

My favourite Altman film was A Wedding - it had everything: Peach bridesmaids, dead Grandmas, sex in cupboards and exploding Mercs, and Geraldine Chaplins wonderful frustrated Organiser. If Altman really did 'just let the actors get on with it, then more directors should do that'. Except for Lindsay Lohan. She should have an adult with her at all times.