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  • A Perfect Couple Makes this a Necessity
    A Perfect Couple - hadn't even heard of this endearing film until Alman's death and this is the only way to get it. It is worth the cost of the collection - of course the other titles don't hurt....more info
  • ROBERT ALTMAN (FEBRUARY 20, 1925 - NOVEMBER 20, 2006)
    Bob's Mini-Bio from Amazon's own IMDB:

    Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school.

    From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started exploring the art of exploring sound with the cheap tape recorders available at the time. He was then sent to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri where he attended through Junior College.

    In 1945, he enlisted in the Air Force and became a copilot of a B-24. After his discharge from the military, he became fascinated by movies and he and his first wife LaVonne moved to Hollywood, where Altman tried acting (appearing in the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)), songwriting (he wrote a musical intended for Broadway, "The Rumors are Flying"), and screenwriting (he co-wrote the screenplay for the film Bodyguard (1948) and wrote the story (uncredited) for Christmas Eve (1947)), but he could not get a foot hold in Tinseltown.

    After a brief fling as publicity director with a company in the business of tattooing dogs, Altman finally gave up and returned to his hometown of Kansas City, where he decided he wanted to do some serious work in filmmaking. An old friend of his recommended him to a film production company in Kansas City, the Calvin Co., who hired him in 1950.

    After a few months of work in writing scripts and editing films, Altman began directing films at Calvin. It was here (while working on documentaries, employee training films, industrial and educational films and advertisements) that he learned much about film making. All in all, Altman pieced together sixty to sixty-five short films for Calvin on every subject imaginable, from football to car crashes, but he kept grasping for more challenging projects.

    He wrote the screenplay for the Kansas City-produced feature film Corn's-A-Poppin' (1951), he produced and directed several television commercials including one with the Eileen Ford Agency, he co-created and directed the TV series _The Pulse of the City (1953)_ which ran for one season on the independent Dumont network, and he even had a formative crack at directing local community theater.

    His big-screen directorial debut came while still at Calvin with The Delinquents (1957) and, by 1956, he left the Calvin Co., and went to Hollywood to direct Alfred Hitchcock's TV show. From here, he went on to direct a large number of television shows, until he was offered the script for MASH (1970) in 1969. He was hardly the producer's first choice - more than fifteen other directors had already turned it down. This wasn't his first movie, but it was his first success.

    After that he had his share of hits and misses, but The Player (1992) and more recently Gosford Park (2001) were particularly well-received.


    RIP Bob. You will be sorely missed....more info
  • One bonafide gem, three others for consideration.
    There's not a whole lot more one can say about MASH, except that it showed that the late Robert Altman was a potent if erratic filmmaker to be reckoned with. "Erratic" is a key word, because while it's true that there are a lot of great films in the Altman canon, there are also a lot of misfires or, at the very least, films that work well in some places and fall apart completely in others. There are a lot of divergent opinions about A WEDDING, QUINTET and A PERFECT COUPLE and, in the end, it probably comes down to one's own patience with Altman's filmmaking methods in each. For my part, QUINTET suceeds the best; it's a dystopian fantasy about the remnants of humanity slowly freezing to death in a snow-covered world, when they're not killing each other off playing a bizarre game called Quintet. Paul Newman plays a traveler who gets caught up in the game and winds up with more than he bargained for from the other players. While a downer, it's an interesting and muted story that explores what life is worth when the world around you is dysfunctional, and it's held my interest each time I've seen it. I'm less fond of A WEDDING and A PERFECT COUPLE. The former just seems to go on and on about how two families with numerous skeletons in their closets fare on the wedding day that joins them together as in-laws. It has all the disparate storyline elements that made films like NASHVILLE and GOSFORD PARK such sucesses, but it feels hectoring, beating you over the head to show you how icky all of these people are. A PERFECT COUPLE is sweet but slight, a tale about a May-December romance that isn't very engaging. At the end I had a hard time figuring out what the two romantic leads saw in each other to stick it out together after their initial encounter through a dating service.

    But that's me. Other people I know who mostly love Altman can't stand QUINTET but think A WEDDING was as good as NASHVILLE, if not better, so there you are (I haven't run into any admirers of A PERFECT COUPLE yet, but I don't doubt they're out there). I'm just glad that some of Altman's questionable movies are available in the US, and you might well like all of them. Now if only an NTSC version of THIEVES LIKE US was available.......more info
  • Flawed but worth buying for collectors...here's what the "general public" thought
    First off, I have a love/hate relationship with Altman's films. I see each and EVERY one I can but I don't love every one and many leave me baffled or feeling totally alienated from whatever "message" or "vision" ALtman had at the time. More than few feel like experiments in the making, something he created to get to a point where he could make a film based on what he learned on a previous film.

    Needless to say, the studios often had a less than kind attitude about the varying effect of his films on audiences - and the unpredictable box office profits.

    Watching some of his film can be frustrating (because his great films are SO great!) that I find myself going back again and again to watch the films I didn't like, trying to give him another chance, trying to figure out what I could be missing.
    So those who buy this collection of films may find themselves, as I was, totally smitten with Mash (one of my favorite films, period,) and have varied reactions to the others.

    If "popular" opinion matters to you, actual viewers who commented on these films,(the kind written by your average moviegoer, not a critic or collector of obscure or unusual films) didn't relate to Quintet and had mixed feelings about A Pefect Couple and A Wedding. None of them were the solid hit that Mash was.

    If you are a collector, you'll want to get this set if only because the earlier films may become even harder to find than they already are. Mash will probably remain pretty easy to get, one way or another (and it shows up on tv a lot) but the others are shown less often, although I'm sure there'll be a retrospective at some point, with some major tv airing - perhaps TNT has already done so.
    While I confess that I wasn't crazy about A Wedding or A Pefect Couple either, both had some sublimely wonderful moments, the kind worth watching a movie just to see. I could have listened to the soundtrack for A Wedding and ignored the whole story - it was that good.
    I always admire Altman's willingness to tenaciously cling to his vision, even if it might not pay off at the box office. He is a true original and, like so many of those, his movies may resonate only with certain viewers. Think of his films as original compositions. You'll feel yourself drawn to some more than others, just as people may tend to like certain pieces of music or art while detesting others. ...more info
  • not such a bargain
    Ive always been a big fan of robert altmans, and two of these films are certainly marvellous, the classic mash, unsurpassed, and a wedding, which is clever and funny, but the other two, quintet a perfect couple, are a little embarassing for an altman fan, as they really are pretty atrocious.But if youre a movie buff and altman can do no wrong, Im sure youll find some enjoyment even in those disasters....more info
  • Just get M*A*S*H's 2-disc special edition
    I always thought Robert Altman had one of the most bizarre resumes in Hollywood. He could pull off an absolute classic like M*A*S*H...and then confound his admirers with an empty mess like 1980's POPEYE (which I unfortunately paid to see in a theatre and convinced several dismayed friends to waste their money as well).

    When I saw that this "collection" included another Altman mega-bomb, QUINTET, I wondered why they didn't leave M*A*S*H off and replace it with Altman's horrendously-stultifying misfire, O.C. AND STIGGS from the early 80s.

    Has anyone even heard of A PERFECT COUPLE and A WEDDING since they were out?
    Not exactly a collection of Altman's best stuff.

    P.S. I'm not saying that these films shouldn't be released--hey, completists and elitists, knock yourselves out--but I am saying that some of Altman's films are baffling and excruciating. It doesn't take away from his classics (or make me "clueless") to admit that.
    Defend O.C. AND STIGGS and POPEYE and then we'll see who sounds clueless!...more info
  • Fine but no need for M*A*S*H again
    I love Robert Altman movies and here are three rare ones, finally getting their due. But why is M*A*S*H included, when it was afforded a big two disc set treatment only a couple of year's previously? It would have been a far better idea to have added HEALTH, a really obscure Altman film, that barely got released. MASH was included to make sure their was a popular title in the mix, but to attract fans of the sitcom, not the movie. The Altman devotees, which this composite says is its target audience, bought the MASH set on the first bounce. So, here, the devoted had to rebuy the Korean war film in order to get A WEDDING.
    A WEDDING is a fine, funny film which expands the NASHVILLE-style multiple character arena Altman genre to new heights. Wonderful performances and outrageous plot turns will delight fans, but the unwary may be turned off. It is intelligent, fast paced and filled with Altman touches.
    A PERFECT COUPLE deserves to be better known. It is a romantic story of two nebbish-y people finding romance in the midst of a wild tangle of Altman weirdos. Funny, well acted, it got dumped on its original release and never got a chance to find an audience.
    QUINTET is probably the worst Altman film of all time. Arty, pretentious, devoid of meaning, and boring,
    This package cries out for HEALTH, and there really needs to be commentaries. If Altman himself wasn't available, then there are certainly enough serious enthusiasts of his work to add insight to the set. The 'by the book' little documentaries offer very little....more info


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