Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rest In Peace, Robert Altman

There were three great moments at the Oscars this past year: Clooney getting Best Supporting Actor and saying something along the lines of "I guess this means I won't get Best Director," P. S. Hoffman getting Best Actor and thanking his mother, and Robert Altman picking up a Lifetime Achievement Oscar and giving an eloquent, humble speech that spoke volumes about his character. If you haven't seen Short Cuts, M*A*S*H, Nashville, or Gosford Park, they are must-see films.[Photo Credit: Gerald Peary Interview]

The legendary director of such classics as M*A*S*H, Nashville and The Player dies at the age of 81
(LOS ANGELES) — 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 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."
[Time (AP)]

Robert Altman Dies at 81
"By the Academy's count, Altman directed 86 films, writing 37 of them. Early credits, according to the Internet Movie Database, included How to Run a Filling Station, the sort of industrial short that paid the fledgling director's bills. Moving onto TV in the 1950s, Altman helmed episodes of Bonanza, Maverick and Route 66.

"It wasn't until his mid-40s that M*A*S*H, the 1970 black comedy set during the Korean War, but speaking the language of the Vietnam War-era audience, distinguished Altman as a feature director." [EOnline.com]

Robert Altman, American maverick, dies aged 81
"Robert Altman, arguably the most colourful and distinctive film-maker of his generation, has died in a hospital in Los Angeles, California. He was 81 years old.

"A late bloomer, Altman was a middle-aged TV director when he took over the reins of 1969's Korean war satire M*A*S*H, reportedly after 17 other directors had turned it down. The movie tapped into a groundswell of opposition to the war in Vietnam and became a mammoth hit. It also established the director's genius for loose-limbed narratives and multi-tracked sound recording; a kind of controlled chaos that caught the mood of a culture in flux."
[Guardian Unlimited]

Robert Altman
[IMDB.com | Wikipedia]

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