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A Companion to Robert Altman

A Companion to Robert Altman

Adrian Danks (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-33889-6 April 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 536 Pages

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A Companion to Robert Altman presents myriad aspects of Altman’s life, career, influence and historical context. This book features 23 essays from a range of experts in the field, providing extensive coverage of these aspects and dimensions of Altman’s work.

  • The most expansive and wide-ranging book yet published on Altman, providing a comprehensive account of Altman’s complete career
  • Provides discussion and analysis of generally neglected aspects of Altman’s career, including the significance of his work in television and industrial film, the importance of collaboration, and the full range and import of his aesthetic innovations
  • Includes essays by key scholars in “Altman studies”, bringing together experts in the field, emerging scholars and writers from a broad range of fields
  • Multi-disciplinary in design and draws on a range of approaches to Altman’s work, being the first substantial publication to make use of the recently launched Robert Altman Archive at the University of Michigan
  • Offers specific insights into particular aspects of film style and their application, industrial and aesthetic film and TV history, and particular areas such as the theorisation of space, place, authorship and gender

Contributors viii

1 “It’s OK with me”: Introducing Robert Altman 1
Adrian Danks

Part One Zoom in: Becoming Altman 19

2 Sponsoring the Hollywood Renaissance: Reappraising Altman’s Industrial Films 21
Mark Minett

3 From Alfred Hitchcock Presents to Tanner on Tanner: The Long Tail of Altman’s Television Career 44
Tony Williams

4 Just a Station on His Way? Altman’s Transition from Television to Film 68
Nick Hall

5 Breaking the Rules: Altman, Innovation and the Critics 92
David Sterritt

Part Two “I’ve got Poetry in Me”: Seeing and Hearing Altman 117

6 The Porous Frame: Visual Style in Altman’s 1970s Films 119
Hamish Ford

7 3 Women: Floating Above the Awful Abyss 146
Joe McElhaney and In memory of Tom Hopkins

8 The Multitrack World of California Split 166
Wheeler Winston Dixon

9 The Democratic Voice: Altman’s Sound Aesthetics in the 1970s 184
Jay Beck

10 Creativity and Compromise: California Split’s Original Soundtrack 210
Gayle Magee

Part Three Placing Altman: Space, History and Genre 231

11 High Hollywood in The Long Goodbye 233
Murray Pomerance

12 Altman and the Western, or a Hollywood Director’s History Lesson of the American West 254
Stephen Teo

13 Altman/Nixon/Reagan: Honorable Secrets, Historical Analogies and the Nexus of Anger 274
Rick Armstrong

14 LA and Paris: The Construction of Social Space in the Films of Altman 296
Robert T. Self

15 “The Man I Love,” or Time Regained: Altman, History and Kansas City 321
Adrian Danks

Part Four Being Altman: Character, Performance and Situation 347

16 “One is Both the Same”: Fantasy and Female Psychosis in Images and That Cold Day in the Park 349
David Melville

17 Nashville: Second City Performance Comes to Hollywood 369
Virginia Wright Wexman

18 Altman: The Artist in Middle Age 390
Christos Tsiolkas

19 Lawful Lawyer, Vigilante Father: Altman, Masculinity and The Gingerbread Man 401
Tom Dorey

Part Five Zoom out: After “Altman” 423

20 Staging the “Rebel’s Return”: The Player, Short Cuts and the Precarious Art of the Comeback 425
Dimitrios Pavlounis

21 The End of the Hollywood Hero: Dr T & the Women and Altman’s Multi]Protagonist Narratives 448
María del Mar Azcona

22 The Long Reach of Short Cuts 465
Robert P. Kolker

23 Kicking and Screaming: Altmanesque Cynicism and Energy in the Work of Paul Thomas Anderson and Noah Baumbach 480
Claire Perkins

Index 501