Robert Altman: Critical Essays

The existence and paintings of movie director Robert Altman (1925-2006) are interpreted from a number of views during this selection of essays. Actors, historians, movie students, and cultural theorists examine Altman and his five-decade profession and speak about the importance of track, heritage and style in his films.

Two actors who've seemed in the various filmmaker's most crucial works are prominently represented, with a press release from Elliot Gould (MASH, The lengthy Goodbye, California Split) and an essay by way of Michael Murphy (McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, Tanner '88). the gathering ends with an essay at the significance of dying within the director's ultimate productions The Company (2003) and Prairie domestic Companion (2006) through famous Altman student Robert T. Self.

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27. Robert Altman, “Introduction,” in Carver, 9. 28. Self, 257. 29. Altman, 8. 30. Carver, 93–121. 31. Roland Barthes, The Pleasures of the Text, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975). 32. Self, 245. 33. Self, 248. 34. Frederic Jameson, Signatures of the Visible (New York: Routledge, 1990), 2–4. 35. Short Cuts Soundtrack CD [1993] (Imago 72787–21014). 36. Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 73. 37. Cooper, 10. 38.

Annie Ross’s performance in Short Cuts is especially remarkable because she is an accomplished jazz singer playing a jazz singer 2. The Hypertext of Short Cuts (Gabbard) 29 not at all like herself. If nothing else, the real Annie Ross plays to more attentive audiences. When I saw her at Reno Sweeney’s in 1979, at the Village Vanguard in 1986, and at Danny’s Skylight Lounge in 2005, the audiences were under her spell, including those who had shown up primarily to hear someone who had written a song on a Joni Mitchell album.

In no way can we understand the singer to be the 2. The Hypertext of Short Cuts (Gabbard) 25 Robert Altman, center, directs one of the jazz sequences in Short Cuts as singer Annie Ross and an unidentified man look on. character we just saw at the end of the film. Annie Ross’s simultaneously diegetic and extradiegetic presence in Short Cuts is not unusual for a jazz artist in a Hollywood film. The same dual role was played by Louis Armstrong in High Society (1956) and by Hoagy Carmichael in Young Man With a Horn (1950).

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