Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman, R. I. P.

If you grew up when I did ('50s and '60s) you just about have to have seen TV shows directed by Altman. He was everywhere in those days. Maverick, Sugarfoot, Combat, Surfside 6, Bonanza, you name it. Then along came M*A*S*H, and he was something else, a big-name movie guy who made some odd movies. (To me, the oddest has to be Quintet. To this day I still don't have a clue. What was he thinking? What was Paul Newman thinking? Probably I'm just to dumb to get it.) There are people who'd rather he hadn't done The Long Goodbye. They really, really hate it. Not me. I liked it for what it was, which sure wasn't Chandler. And what about McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, The Player? Not to mention Nashville, one of my favorites. Just recently I watched A Prairie Home Companion and enjoyed it a lot. Altman had a great career, and he brought me a lot of pleasure over the years.

Director Robert Altman dead at age 81?|?US News?|?Reuters.com: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Robert Altman, who introduced an innovative ensemble style of filmmaking in such works as 'MASH,' 'Gosford Park' and 'Nashville,' has died at age 81, his production company said on Tuesday.

A spokesman told Reuters that Altman died on Monday night but gave no cause of death.

Altman revealed at the Academy Awards in March that he had a heart transplant when he was in his 70s but kept it a secret in order to keep working. He received a lifetime achievement award at the same ceremony.

Altman, born in Kansas City, Missouri, was 30 when he made his first feature film.

On the strength of that he moved to Hollywood where his big break came with 'MASH,' the 1970 black comedy about a medical unit during the Korean War. Its irreverent ad lib dialogue caught viewers by surprise and ushered in a new era of filmmaking."


Bill Peschel said...

All too often, we hear about famous people dying long after their best work, or any work, has been done, and we say "there's a great hole in our lives now that he's gone."

Which is a silly thing to say.

Except in Altman's case. He's one of the few who kept working, and now he's gone. I don't particularly care for some of his movies, or his politics, but I'm glad he was out there doing something interesting. Not many people doing that these days who can make a career of it.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I understand he had some poignant last words but they were missed because everyone else was talking at the same time.

Bill said...

Good one, Cap'n.

Juri said...

I didn't get TANNER '88. Well, I didn't get QUINTET, but I was 14 or 15 at the time. Just saw 3 WOMEN. It was interesting and very well done, but I should say it was misogynist. Clever take on westerns, though.

One of his films that I really liked (or at least remember liking) was COME BACK, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN.