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Robert Altman - RIP


JackBurley
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(YAHOO.COM) LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film director Robert Altman has died in a Los Angeles hospital, a spokesman for his production company said on Tuesday

 

The spokesman told Reuters that Altman, 81, died on Monday evening. He gave no cause of death.

 

Altman, whose films include "The Player," "M*A*S*H," and "Nashville," revealed earlier this year that he had been the recipient of a heart transplant approximately 10 years ago. He received an honorary Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards.

 

A true visionary he will be missed. RIP Mr. Altman.

 

vallo

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Yes Jack,

 

He will be sorely missed and you must admit, especially by those 20 year fans of M.A.S.H. who only know him by TV. To create a movie and adjoining TV show which is hilarious and timely even after more than 30 years is worth great acknowledgement. Until I saw a bio on him on A&E back in the day, I wasn't aware of the large body of work he contributed to, I only knew him as the Director of MASH. An adult person of any era can watch that movie and laugh wholeheartedly, and if, for that alone, I thank him.

 

Anne

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I was very saddened, although I had been fearing this day might not be far off since watching "Praire Home Companion".

 

Some of Altman's movie's were puzzling, baffling, occasionally off-putting, but you gotta give him credit for always trying to push the envelope and buck conventions.

 

Let's hope TCM can make some last-minute changes to bring us an Altman tribute.

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From AOL:

 

Acclaimed Film Director Robert Altman Dies

Scored Box Office Success With 'M-A-S-H,' 'The Player'

By DAVID GERMAIN, AP

 

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 21) - 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.

 

The cause of death wasn't disclosed. A news release was expected later in the day, Astrachan said.

 

 

A Sample of Robert Altman Films

'The Player' 'Nashville' 'Brewster McCloud'

 

A five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, most recently for 2001's "Gosford Park," he finally won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006.

 

"No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting the award. "I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition."

 

Altman had one of the most distinctive styles among modern filmmakers. He often employed huge ensemble casts, encouraged improvisation and overlapping dialogue and filmed scenes in long tracking shots that would flit from character to character.

 

Perpetually in and out of favor with audiences and critics, Altman worked ceaselessly since his anti-war black comedy "M-A-S-H" established his reputation in 1970, but he would go for years at a time directing obscure movies before roaring back with a hit.

 

After a string of commercial duds including "The Gingerbread Man" in 1998, "Cookie's Fortune" in 1999 and "Dr. T & the Women" in 2000, Altman took his all-American cynicism to Britain for 2001's "Gosford Park."

 

A combination murder-mystery and class-war satire set among snobbish socialites and their servants on an English estate in the 1930s, "Gosford Park" was Altman's biggest box-office success since "M-A-S-H."

 

Besides best-director, "Gosford Park" earned six other Oscar nominations, including best picture and best supporting actress for both Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith . It won the original-screenplay Oscar, and Altman took the best-director prize at the Golden Globes for "Gosford Park."

 

Altman's other best-director Oscar nominations came for "M-A-S-H," the country-music saga "Nashville" from 1975, the movie-business satire "The Player" from 1992 and the ensemble character study "Short Cuts" from 1993. He also earned a best-picture nomination as producer of "Nashville."

 

No director ever got more best-director nominations without winning a regular Oscar, though four other men - Alfred Hitchcock , Martin Scorsese , Clarence Brown and King Vidor - tied with Altman at five.

 

In May, Altman brought out "A Prairie Home Companion," with Garrison Keillor starring as the announcer of a folksy musical show - with the same name as Keillor's own long-running show - about to be shut down by new owners. Among those in the cast were Meryl Streep , Lily Tomlin , Kevin Kline , Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones .

 

"This film is about death," Altman said at a May 3 news conference in St. Paul, Minn., also attended by Keillor and many of the movie's stars.

 

He often took on Hollywood genres with a revisionist's eye, de-romanticizing the Western hero in 1971's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and 1976's "Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson," the film-noir gumshoe in 1973's "The Long Goodbye" and outlaw gangsters in "Thieves Like Us."

 

"M-A-S-H" was Altman's first big success after years of directing television, commercials, industrial films and generally unremarkable feature films. The film starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould was set during the Korean War but was Altman's thinly veiled attack on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

 

"That was my intention entirely. If you look at that film, there's no mention of what war it is," Altman said in an Associated Press interview in 2001, adding that the studio made him put a disclaimer at the beginning to identify the setting as Korea.

 

"Our mandate was bad taste. If anybody had a joke in the worst taste, it had a better chance of getting into the film, because nothing was in worse taste than that war itself," Altman said.

 

The film spawned the long-running TV sitcom starring Alan Alda , a show Altman would refer to with distaste as "that series." Unlike the social message of the film, the series was prompted by greed, Altman said.

 

"They made millions and millions of dollars by bringing an Asian war into Americans' homes every Sunday night," Altman said in 2001. "I thought that was the worst taste."

 

Altman never minced words about reproaching Hollywood. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he said Hollywood served as a source of inspiration for the terrorists by making violent action movies that amounted to training films for such attacks.

 

"Nobody would have thought to commit an atrocity like that unless they'd seen it in a movie," Altman said.

 

Altman was written off repeatedly by the Hollywood establishment, and his reputation for arrogance and hard drinking - a habit he eventually gave up - hindered his efforts to raise money for his idiosyncratic films.

 

While critical of studio executives, Altman held actors in the highest esteem. He joked that on "Gosford Park," he was there mainly to turn the lights on and off for the performers.

 

The respect was mutual. Top-name actors would clamor for even bit parts in his films. Altman generally worked on shoestring budgets, yet he continually landed marquee performers who signed on for a fraction of their normal salaries.

 

After the mid-1970s, the quality of Altman's films became increasingly erratic. His 1980 musical "Popeye," with Robin Williams , was trashed by critics, and Altman took some time off from film.

 

He directed the Broadway production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," following it with a movie adaptation in 1982. Altman went back and forth from TV to theatrical films over the next decade, but even when his films earned critical praise, such as 1990's "Vincent & Theo," they remained largely unseen.

 

"The Player" and "Short Cuts" re-established Altman's reputation and commercial viability. But other 1990s films - including his fashion-industry farce "Ready to Wear" and "Kansas City," his reverie on the 1930s jazz and gangster scene of his hometown - fell flat.

 

Born Feb. 20, 1925, Altman hung out in his teen years at the jazz clubs of Kansas City, Mo., where his father was an insurance salesman.

 

Altman was a bomber pilot in World War II and studied engineering at the University of Missouri in Columbia before taking a job making industrial films in Kansas City. He moved into feature films with "The Delinquents" in 1957, then worked largely in television through the mid 1960s, directing episodes of such series as "Bonanza" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

 

Altman and his wife, Kathryn, had two sons, Robert and Matthew, and he had a daughter, Christine, and two other sons, Michael and Stephen, from two previous marriages.

 

When he received his honorary Oscar in 2006, Altman revealed he had a heart transplant a decade earlier.

 

"I didn't make a big secret out of it, but I thought nobody would hire me again," he said after the ceremony. "You know, there's such a stigma about heart transplants, and there's a lot of us out there."

 

May he rest in peace.

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"Until I saw a bio on him on A&E back in the day, I wasn't aware of the large body of work he contributed to, I only knew him as the Director of MASH."

 

For me, his masterpiece is Gosford Park. I tried and tried to get into Nashville since so many people whose taste I respect love the film; but it just isn't for me. Gosford Park is a feast though. Most enjoyable.

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A consummate visionary and true independent spirit...who did it on his terms. His movies were accurate depictions of Americana and belong in the Smithsonian. I always love the fact that his movies do not have the traditional "beginnings" and "endings." You just sort of wander into and out of his landscape-with the multiple characters and story arcs...

A sad day for Hollywood.

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Thirty minutes before reading this thread I put Altman's "Three Women" in my Netflix queue...recommended by a TCM forum contributor.

 

"McCabe and Mrs. Miller" is one of my favorite movies. I agree with silentfan..."The Player" is another great Altman movie. If TCM does an Altman tribute, I hope they schedule "A Wedding"...another great Altman movie.

 

Robert Altman's death...sad news.

 

Rusty

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I was shocked by this, it wasn't that unexpected however. He looked pretty weak at the oscars. Still it's sad to see him go. He is among my top three favorite directors. Such awesome stuff like McCabe and Mrs Miller, 3 Women, Nashville, The Player, Secret Honor, Short Cuts. Maybe TCM might air a tribute to him.

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Hello Everyone,

 

How sad that one of the last great master directors is now gone.

 

His masterpieces, IMO, are:

M.A.S.H

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

Nashville

Gosford Park

 

I also liked Cookies Fortune because of its quirkyness....

 

R.I.P. Mr. Altman

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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benwhowell...I mentioned earlier in this thread renting Altman's movie "Three Women"...recommended by a forum contributor. I just looked up the post having the "Three Women" recommendation...thank you for mentioning the movie. I read some reviews of "Three Women" and it sounds like a good way to spend a couple of hours.

 

Larry...regarding "Cookie's Fortune"? I didn't know Robert Altman directed that movie. Oh man, what a great movie. Patricia Neal is soo good as Jewel May Orcutt.

 

Robert Altman...he made some most memorable movies.

 

Rusty

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Rusty,

I think you'll thoroughly enjoy those couple of hours...and the music from Gerald Busby is great too. I've never been disappointed with the music in Altman's movies...including "Popeye." (Am I the only one who loves that movie?)

I agree that Patricia Neal was wonderful in "Cookie's Fortune!" That movie was filmed in Holly Springs, Mississippi...which is the "county seat" for the county I grew up in...I got my driver's license in Holly Springs when I was 15. I really love it that Altman "immortalized" that small town on film.

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I'm surprised at how many films Altman made and how few I have seen.

 

My favorites are "Thieves Like Us," a terrific revisionist Bonnie and Clyde film. "The Player," a wonderful dark comedy. "Gosford Park," which is almost two or three movies smashed together, "MASH," which is so much more than the TV series, "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," perhaps my favorite Warren Beatty movie, "Nashville," which is an epic, and "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," which I really enjoyed the one time I saw it. I'll have to see "Prairie Home Companion" again. I liked it but not as much as these others.

 

Altman was one of a kind. There is no one like him now.

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