Robert Altman, RIP

wow, cinema's loss for sure.

Robert Altman, Leading Director, Dies at 81 - New York Times Robert Altman, the caustic and irreverent satirist behind “M-A-S-H,” “Nashville” and “The Player” who made a career out of bucking Hollywood management and story conventions, died at a Los Angeles Hospital, his Sandcastle 5 Productions Company said Tuesday. He was 81.

The director died Monday night, Joshua Astrachan, a producer at Altman's Sandcastle 5 Productions in New York City, told The Associated Press.

Strangely enough, I've seen several Altman movies in the last month or so.
Off the top of my mind, since October, have seen these films:

M*A*S*H (Single Disc Edition)

“M*A*S*H (Single Disc Edition)” (Robert Altman)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

“McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (Robert Altman)

Short Cuts - Criterion Collection

“Short Cuts - Criterion Collection” (Robert Altman, John Dorr, Mike E. Kaplan)

The Long Goodbye

“The Long Goodbye” (Robert Altman)

I had seen M.A.S.H. before, but none of these others. All worth watching, for one reason or another, as are the majority of Altman's films.

Obits later, as they are made available.

Mr. Altman was angry that the lone Oscar given to “MASH” went to Ring Lardner Jr., who got sole screen credit for the script. Mr. Altman openly disparaged Mr. Lardner’s work, touching off one of his many feuds. Later, when Mr. Altman seemed unable to duplicate the mix of critical and box-office success that “MASH” had achieved, he grew almost disdainful of the film.

“ ‘MASH’ was a pretty good movie,” Mr. Altman said in an interview. “It wasn’t what 20th Century-Fox thought it was going to be. They almost, when they saw it, cut all the blood out. I fought with my life for that. The picture speaks for itself. It became popular because of the timing. Consequently, it’s considered important, but it’s no better or more important than any of the other films I’ve made.”

Mr. Altman’s interest in film genres was candidly subversive. He wanted to explode them to expose what he saw as their phoniness. He decided to make “McCabe & Mr. Miller” for just that reason. “I got interested in the project because I don’t like Westerns,” Mr. Altman said. “So I pictured a story with every Western cliche in it.”

His intention, he said, was to drain the glamour from the West and show it as it really was — filthy, vermin-infested, whisky-soaked and ruled by thugs with guns. His hero, McCabe (Mr. Beatty), was a dim-witted dreamer who let his cockiness and his love for a drug-addicted prostitute (Ms. Christie) undo him.

“These events took place,” Mr. Altman said, of Westerns in general, “But not in the way you’ve been told. I wanted to look at it through a different window, you might say, but I still wanted to keep the poetry in the ballad.” The critic Terrence Rafferty regarded “McCabe” as “among the greatest movies of its time.”

He never mellowed in his view of the movie business.

“The people who get into this business are fast-buck operators, carnival people, always have been,” Mr. Altman said in a 1993 interview. “They don’t try to make good movies now; they’re trying to make successful movies. The marketing people run it now. You don’t really see too many smart people running the studios, running the video companies. They’re all making big money, but they’re not looking for, they don’t have a vested interest in the shelf life of a movie. There’s no overview. No one says, ‘Forty years from now, who’s going to want to see this?’ No visionaries.”

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on November 21, 2006 10:58 AM.

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