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Robert Altman


edna
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He was one of my most admired movie directors. He died at 81 on Monday and he was planning to start shooting another movie, "Hands on a Hardbody".

Altman was nominated for an Oscar for "M-A-S-H," "Nashville," "The Player," "Short Cuts" and "Gosford Park" but he only got the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2006.

from CNN.com:

Born Feb. 20, 1925, Altman hung out in his teen years at the jazz clubs of Kansas City, Missouri, 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 features 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."

I have "Short Cuts" on VHS and I see it every month. I will have to get the dvd...

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He was so very thorough in his set requirements. Nothing extemporaneous, always in keeping with the mood being transferred to the audience. Sometimes his sets were exactly the size of the frame being shot. A little rectangle of illusion. A stickler for detail, in the classic director tradition; his productions were usually in contrast to the "free flow" directors of the early 70's (and beyond) who incorporated "realty sets" in with the story being presented.

"MASH" or "Nashville" might earn kudos by many as his defining work, but I will never forget the respect I had for the director of "Popeye," a daring (at the time, pre ILM and computer effects) attempt to transfer a cartoon feel to the big screen. Although it seems like a simple tale, there is a tremendous amount of human movement in that movie; each and every step of every actor, under Altman's direction.

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I am ashamed to think I love movies and, yet, I have not seen any of his movies.

Not even Popeye ?

Robert Altman's 1980 live action musical film, with Robin Williams as the Sailor and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl, was a critical flop, but I think it's great entertainment. The unconventional songs are from Harry Nilsson.

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Another Missouri native, now that's interesting. I think Altmans work was absolute genius. Every single movie. Popeye was horrible, truly, I thought. That however, was due more to the actors than anything else. But, for the music as Tybalt says, and the concept, way ahead of it's time, made Popeye worth watching. I saw it as a new release, when I was young, and thought it terrible. As I've learned more I've watched again, and rather enjoyed it.

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