Robert Altman

"The undeniable brilliance of Altman's cinema is most closely tied to a simple point made in each of his greatest works: the tapestry of overlapping lives is richer than overproduced spectacle. Witness Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts, or Gosford Park: each film lets characters complicate events by their unique personality traits rather than showcases special-effects technicians and pyrotechnics." - Garrett Chaffin-Quiray (501 Movie Directors, 2007)

Robert Altman

Director / Producer / Screenwriter
(1925-2006) Born February 20, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: USA, UK
Key Genres: Ensemble Film, Drama, Satire, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Crime, Psychological Drama, Americana, Media Satire, Musical Drama, Mystery, Political Satire
Key Collaborators: Stephen Altman (Production Designer), Pierre Mignot (Cinematographer), Geraldine Peroni (Editor), Shelley Duvall (Leading Character Actress), Paul Dooley (Character Actor), Michael Murphy (Character Actor), Lou Lombardo (Editor), Leon Ericksen (Production Designer), Rene Auberjonois (Character Actor), Elliott Gould (Character Actor), Frank Barhydt (Screenwriter), Jean Lepine (Cinematographer)

"Altman’s anti-aesthetics is anti-Hollywood, and he follows instead in the line of Rossellini, de Sica, Fellini, and Bergman. There are of course enormous differences between these European directors and Altman. Although the carnivalesque bustling of many Altman films can recall only Fellini, the two directors’ attitudes toward sound design, for instance, is completely antithetical. Every sound in Fellini is dubbed in postproduction, often quite noticeably, whereas almost everything in Altman is recorded on the spot, including his trademark overlapping dialogue." - Steven Dillon (The Solaris Effect: Art & Artifice in Contemporary American Film, 2006)
"Robert Altman is American cinema's greatest iconoclast. Prolific, experimental, visionary and ambitious, he is a director whose career spans over five decades and includes over thirty feature films. Known as a maverick director (a label he denies), Altman eschews the market-oriented climate of Hollywood, refusing to bow to studio demands and insisting on total control over his material. The result is an eclectic body of work that moves across several genres, each picture effectively dismantling the generic conventions on which it draws." - Tanya Horeck (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)
"Altman's use of multi-track sound is also incredibly complex: sounds are layered upon one another, often emanating from different speakers in such a way that the audience member must also decide what to listen for. Indeed, watching and listening to an Altman film inevitably requires an active participant: events unroll with a Bazinian ambiguity. Altman's Korean War comedy M*A*S*H was the director's first public success with this kind of soundtrack." - Charles Derry (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Altman is usually happier with large casts than small: while elegantly shot and acted, the intimate theatrical adaptations he was reduced to making in the 80s (he's always been an outsider in Hollywood) lack the social, historical and philosophical import of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville, the made-for-TV Tanner '88, The Player and Short Cuts - movies which confirm him, however erratic his output, as one of the greatest - and most stylistically innovative - filmmakers of the modern era." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Irreverent, iconoclastic director whose films have won kudos from critics and film buffs for decades, though his box-office hits have been few and far between. His career has had more than its share ups and downs, but Altman has "never sold out", remaining a maverick at every turn." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, 1995
"Unusual by American standards, he has refused to make formula pictures, trying to so something different with each film. Nevertheless, they are all shot in the rectangular-shaped Panavision. He also likes to use the same actors and technicians from film to film, often getting his performers to write or improvise their own dialogue." - Ronald Bergan (A-Z of Movie Directors, 1983)
"The director proffers an elliptical, poignant, often bitingly satirical vision of American sensibilities." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Maybe there's a chance to get back to grown-up films. Anything that uses humor and dramatic values to deal with human emotions and gets down to what people are to people." - Robert Altman
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
California Split (1974), The Player (1992)
Recommended
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) , The Long Goodbye (1973) ✖︎, Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975) , 3 Women (1977), Short Cuts (1993) , Cookie's Fortune (1998), Gosford Park (2001)
Worth a Look
M*A*S*H (1970) , Brewster McCloud (1970), Images (1972), A Wedding (1978), Secret Honor (1984), Tanner '88 [TV] (1988), Vincent & Theo (1990), A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Approach with Caution
A Perfect Couple (1979), Quintet (1979), Popeye (1980), H.E.A.L.T.H. (1980), Streamers (1983), O.C. and Stiggs (1985), Pret-a-Porter (1994), The Company (2003)
Not Recommended
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), Fool for Love (1985), Beyond Therapy (1987), Kansas City (1995)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    The Long Goodbye
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