Timeless Artist and Director
Robert Altman was born February 20, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, and died November 20, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.
Biography and Filmography from Wikipedia ~ Remembering the Player from Joe Morgenstern, WSJ ~ YouTube R.I.P.
Beyond Therapy ~ Brewster McCloud ~ Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson ~ California Split ~ The Company ~ Dr. T & the Women ~ Fool for Love ~ The Gingerbread Man ~ Gosford Park ~ Images ~ Kansas City ~ The Long Goodbye ~ M*A*S*H ~ McCabe & Mrs. Miller ~ Nashville ~ O.C. & Stiggs ~ A Perfect Couple ~ The Player ~ Popeye ~ A Prairie Home Companion ~ Quintet ~ Ready to Wear ~ Short Cuts ~ Thieves Like Us ~ 3 Women ~ Trixie ~ Vincent & Theo ~ A Wedding
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) Cookie's Fortune (1999) Countdown (1968) The Delinquents (1957) Health (1980) Secret Honor (1984) Streamers (1983) That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
Beyond Therapy (1987)
Cast:Julie Hagerty, Glenda Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Conti, Christopher Guest
Writer:Christopher Durang
(Viewed and booed*)
Brewster McCloud (1970)
Cast:Bud Cort, Rene Auberjonois, Shelley Duvall, Stacy Keach, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, Bert Remsen, William Windom
Writer:Doran William Cannon
I forgot the opening line.
This is perhaps the saddest of Altman films despite the lecturer's marvelous transition/transposition into a bird.
Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)
Paul Newman, Will Sampson, MGM
Cast:Geraldine Chaplin, John Considine, Robert DoQui, Shelley Duvall, Joel Grey, Frank Kaquitts, Harvey Keitel, Burt Lancaster, Kevin McCarthy, Pat McCormich, Paul Newman, Bert Remsen, Will Sampson
Executive Producer:David Susskind
Screenplay:Alan Rudolph
Writer:Arthur Kopit
Even the least seasoned trapper will tell you if you don't know what you're after, you're better off staying home.
California Split (1974)
Cast:Elliott Gould, George Segal
Writer:Joseph Walsh
Everybody's named Barbara.
The Company (2004)
Cast:Malcolm McDowell, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Neve Campbell, James Franco
Casting:Pam Dickson Mickelson
Writer:Neve Campbell, Barbara Turner
Perhaps you'd like to direct the company?
Dr. T & the Women (2000)
Cast:Laura Dern, Farrah Fawcett, Lee Grant, Kate Hudson, Helen Hunt, Shelley Long, Yvonna Lynn, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, Richard Gere
Music:Lyle Lovett
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Studio:Lions Gate Entertainment
Writer:Anne Rapp
Menopause is a lot like puberty.
Fool for Love (1985)
Cast:Sam Shepard, Kim Basinger, Randy Quaid, Harry Dean Stanton
Writer:Sam Shepard
Now, May.
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
Cast:Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Daryl Hannah
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Writer:John Grisham
I'll be right back.
Gosford Park (2001)
Gosford Park, Universal
Cast:Eileen Atkins, Bob Balaban, Alan Bates, Charles Dance, Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Richard E. Grant, Derek Jacobi, Kelly MacDonald, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam, Clive Owen, Ryan Phillippe, Maggie Smith, Kirsten Scott Thomas, Emily Watson
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Writer:Julian Fellowes
Well, that was fairly painless, wasn't it? | No, it wasn't.
Images (1972)
Cast:Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Catherine Harrison, Hugh Millais
Production Design:Leon Ericksen
Writer:Susannah York
Not me.
Kansas City (1997)
Cast:Harry Belafonte, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Murphy, Michael Marisi Ornstein, Miranda Richardson, Brooke Smith, Tim Snay
Writer:Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
He's got a lot of customers. | Those aren't customers. Those are voters.
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Cast:Henry Gibson, Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden, Nina van Pallandt, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Screenplay:Leigh Brackett
Writer:Raymond Chandler adaptation
You make up the lists? | Yes. | You do everything, yes? | Yes. | Yes.
M*A*S*H (1969)
Cast:Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Rene Auberjonois, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Tom Skerritt
Screenplay:Ring Lardner Jr.
Writer:Richard Hooker
Duke, Henry has our orders. We can go home.
Right now? | Yeah, whenever we want. | You mind if we get out of this guy's brain first?
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Warner Brothers
Cast:Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, Keith Carradine, William Devane, Shelley Duvall, Robert Fortier, Michael Murphy, Bert Remsen, Manfred Schulz
Music:Leonard Cohen
Production Design:Leonard Erikson
Studio:Warner Brothers
Writer:Robert Altman, Brian McKay (Edmund Naughton's novel McCabe)
Time and money. Money and time.
Until people stop dying for freedom, we ain't gonna be free.
Nashville (1975)
Nashville Cast
Keith Carradine: Tom
Lily TomlinLily again
Cast:Barbara Baxley, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Henry Gibson, Jeff Goldblum, Merle Kilgore, Michael Murphy, Dave Peel, Thomas Hal Phillips, Bert Remsen, Howard K. Smith, Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles, Keenan Wynn
Studio:American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Writer:Joan Tewkesbury
Congress is composed of 535 individuals. 288 are lawyers and you wonder what's wrong in congress.
O.C. & Stiggs (1984)
Cast:Daniel H. Jenkins, Neill Barry, Paul Dooley, Jane Curtin, Martin Mull, Dennis Hopper, Ray Walston, Louis Nye
Writer:Ted Mann, Donald Cantrell
(Viewed and booed*)
A Perfect Couple (1979)
Cast:Paul Dooley, Marta Heflin, Dennis Franz, Henry Gibson, Titos Vandis
Writer:Robert Altman, Allan F. Nicholls
What do you do when everything between the two of you seems wrong? Fall in love.
The Player
The Player
Cast:Tim Robbins, Peter Gallagher, Whoopy Goldberg, Richard E. Grant, Brion James, Lyle Lovett, Dina Merrill, Greta Scacchi, Cynthia Stevenson, Dean Stockwell, Fred Ward
Production DesignStephen Altman
Writer:Michael Tolkin
I don't go to movies. | Why not? | Life is too short.
Popeye (1980)
Cast:Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, Paul Dooley, Wesley Ivan Hurt, Ray Walston
Screenplay:Jules Feiffer
Writer:E. C. Segar
I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam.
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Cast:Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Marya Rudolph, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin
Writer and Screenplay:Garrison Keillor
Remind me not to loan you my car.
Quintet (1979)
Cast:Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman, Fernando Rey, Bibi Andersson
Screenplay:Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt, Patricia Resnick
Writer:Robert Altman, Lionel Chetwynd, Patricia Resnick
Viewed and booed*.
Ready to Wear (1994)
Cast:Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Danny Aiello, Anouk Aimee, Lauren Bacall, Michel Blanc, Kim Basinger, Rupert Everett, Teri Garr, Richard E. Grant, Linda Hunt, Sally Kellerman, Lyle Lovett, Stephen Rea, Julia Roberts, Jean, Rochefort, Tim Robbins, Liv Taylor, Tracey Ullman, Forest Whitaker
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Writer:Robert Altman, Barbara Shulgasser
Here Comes The Hotstepper.
Short Cuts (1993)
Lily Tomlin, Tom WaitsLili Taylor, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Penn, Jennifer Jason LeighJack Lemmon
Frances McDormand, Peter GallagherTim Robbins, Madeleine Stowe
Julianne Moore, Matthew ModineBruce Davison, Andie MacDowellFred Ward, Anne ArcherAnnie Ross, Lori Singer
Cast:Anne Archer, Bruce Davison, Robert Downey, Jr., Peter Gallagher, Buck Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Jarrett Lennon, Huey Lewis, Lyle Lovett, Frances McDormand, Andie MacDowell, Matthew Modine, Julianne Moore, Chris Penn, Tim Robbins, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Madeleine Stowe, Lily Tomlin, Lili Taylor, Fred Ward, Tom Waits
Music Production:Hal Willner
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Studio:Fine Line Features with Spelling Films International
Screenplay:Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Writer:Raymond Carver
Do you want to have a go at it?
Gonna get you outa Downey.
Well, I can see you've had some kind of problem here.
Thieves Like Us (1974)
Cast:Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, Bert Remsen, John Schuck
Screenplay:Robert Altman, Joan Tewkesbury, Calder Willingham
Writer:Edward Anderson
Kitchie-Kitchie-Koo | Little Boy Blue
3 Women (1977)
Cast:Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule
Writer:Robert Altman, Patricia Resnick
Don't eat the whole ones! Those are for the guests.
Shelley is dumber than Martha aka L.A. Joan in Nashville (1975); Sissy is scarier than Carrie (1976); Janice broods better Molly Riordan in Welcome to Hard Times (1967)
Trixie (2000)
Cast:Emily Watson, Nathan Lane, Dermot Mulroney, Brittany Murphy, Nick Nolte, Will Patton, Leslie Ann Warren;
Director:Alan Rudolph
Composer:Mark Isham, Roger Neill
Writer:Alan Rudolph, John Binder
Producer:Robert Altman
What a load of lame duck! Do who hear yourself when you speak? Do you hear what you are saying?
Vincent & Theo (1990)
Vincent & Theo, Hemdale Film Corporation
Cast:Paul Rhys, Tim Roth
Music:Gabriel Yared
Production Design:Stephen Altman
Studio:A Belbo Film in association with Arena Films (John Daly and Derek Gibson, presenters), Hemdale Film Corporation
Writer:Julian Mitchell
There's God in everything.
A Wedding (1978)
A Wedding, 20th Century Fox
Cast:Desi Arnaz, Jr., Carol Burnett, Geraldine Chaplin, John Cromwell, Paul Dooley, Howard Duff, Mia Farrow, Dennis Franz, Peggy Ann Garner, Vittorio Gassman, Lillian Gish, Lauren Hutton, Jeffrey Jones, Viveca Lindfors, Pat McCormick, Dina Merrill, Delita Moreno, Nina Van Pallandt, Cedric Scott, Amy Stryker, Tim Thomerson, Virginia Vestoff with Bert Remsen as William Williamson
Studio:Fox Studios (20th Century Fox)
Writer:John Considine, Robert Altman
I'm just the nurse, your honor.
* Viewed and booed. Even the great Altman is entitled to a flop or two and every web minion is entitled to an opinion. See also the master on himself and his craft in The Directors, Media Entertainment, Inc. and The American Film Institute, ©2007.
How Robert Altman pulled us into his vision of life
Joe MorgensternThe Wall Street Journal, November 25-26, 2006
One day toward the end of 1969, a publicist from 20th Century-Fox called with an invitation to a late-night sneak preview at a little theater on West 57th Street in Manhattan. The movie was one I hadn't heard of, something called "Mash." (Telephones don't do asterisks or upper case.) "Nobody here knows what to make of it," the publicist said, "but let me know what you think." I've watched the film many times since, just as countless other movie lovers have, but I can still remember the surprise and delight of my first thought about it, as the few giddy minutes flashed by -- that what I was watching was new. Not new as in hasn't been released yet, or new as in the latest twist on a familiar genre, but joyously, shockingly new to the eye and ear -- and, as the surgeon heroes' humanity emerged from the gore and raunch, pleasing to the heart.

It's astonishing to think that Robert Altman was 45 years old when he made "M*A*S*H." At an age when many filmmakers have already settled into a reliable style, and into the fixative of prosperity, Altman was just embarking on a life of chancy discovery in a medium that came as naturally to him as his dry smile.

If he hadn't been a compulsive gambler, he couldn't have made "California Split," the best movie ever about the gambler's high. If he hadn't been a gambler at all, he couldn't have struck the artistic gold (along with plenty of fool's gold) that he did in the 36 years since "M*A*S*H" burst upon the scene. In four years he made three flat-out masterpieces: "McCabe & Mrs. Miller", "The Long Goodbye" and "Nashville." He followed them with an assortment of lesser films that were good or bad but never indifferent. (My favorites include "Thieves Like Us," the nutso-visionary "Popeye," "The Player" and "Vincent & Theo.") When studios and money men stopped knocking at his door, he found ways to keep working -- that's real-life heroism -- on a smaller scale and on smaller screens with new technologies. (Far from daunting him, digital photography intrigued him. He was the man, after all, who had understood, long before the studios and theater owners did, the potential of Dolby sound -- for giving sound tracks a new immediacy, and, not incidentally, for enhancing the clarity of his overlapping dialogue.

Then, against all odds -- and, as always, pretty much indifferent to the odds -- he bounced back (though he had never really been away) with another string of features, among them three that only he could have made: the intricate and influential "Short Cuts"; the lovely comedy of manners-cum murder mystery, "Gosford Park"; and his last film, "A Prairie Home Companion," which opened in June and has already found its way to a happy afterlife on DVD. He was in fragile health when he directed it -- from a wheelchair, just as John Huston had done on his own exquisite last film, "The Dead" -- and after the movie was finished, Altman said it was about death. Sure enough, there's a reaper in it, but she's beautiful, not grim, and Altman's movie about death teems with good jokes, great bad jokes, marvelous stories, screwy songs and sweet reminiscences -- teems with life.

That's not surprising, given the work that came before. I'm properly in awe of the best that such American masters as Coppola, Scorsese and Spielberg have been able to put on the silver screen. But I've never been in awe of Altman, my favorite American director; his best has always pulled me in and made me feel welcome, if sometimes drunk on the flow and swirl of it all.

"McCabe & Mrs. Miller" conjures up a whole world in its story of life -- and death -- at the turn of the century in a Pacific Northwest mining town. Conversations are both heard and overheard: Altman wasn't conducting an elocution class, he wanted to make us tune in carefully on the torrent of language and life. "The Long Goodbye" plunks a superannuated Philip Marlowe -- Altman thought of him as Rip Van Marlowe -- into a 1970s world of shimmering wealth, pothead violence, casual betrayals and radiant nymphets doing yoga, a world so alien to Marlowe's film noir mindset that he keeps saying, with blithe bewilderment, "It's OK with me." (While the movie was in production, Altman, who loved actors as they loved him, hired a skywriter to fly over the Malibu house of his star, Elliott Gould, and write "It's okay with me too.")

Students of Altman's technique like to talk about his fluid camera, and his fondness for zoom lenses. True enough, but his technique was only a means to his ends of filling the screen with life's flow, and mysterious ebbs. The fact of his death is a bewilderment -- no more Altman films to look forward to -- and it's not OK in any way but one, the public treasures he has left behind. Life flows on in them.

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