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Altman on Altman

David Thompson

In Altman on Altman the award-winning director of M*A*S*H and Gosford Park Robert Altman candidly and entertainingly discusses his life and work.

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In Altman on Altman, one of American cinema’s most incorrigible mavericks reflects on a brilliant career.

Robert Altman served a long apprenticeship in movie-making before his great breakthrough, the Korean War comedy M*A*S*H (1969). It became a huge hit and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but also established Altman’s inimitable use of sound and image, and his gift for handling a repertory company of actors. The 1970s then became Altman’s decade, with a string of masterpieces: McCabe and Mrs Miller, The Long Goodbye,Thieves Like Us, Nashville . . . In the 1980s Altman struggled to fund his work, but he was restored to prominence in 1992 with The Player, an acerbic take on Hollywood. Short Cuts, an inspired adaptation of Raymond Carver, and the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, underscored his comeback.

Now he recalls the highs and lows of his career trajectory to David Thompson in this definitive interview book, part of Faber’s widely acclaimed Directors on Directors series.

‘Hearing in his own words in Altman on Altman just how much of his films occur spontaneously, as a result of last-minute decisions on set, is fascinating . . . For film lovers, this is just about indispensable.’ Ben Sloan,Metro London

Critic Reviews

One of American cinema's most incorrigible mavericks reflects on a brilliant career which has spanned six decades. These conversatons with David Thompson are endlessly fascinating, frank and funny as Altman recalls his bold experiments, adventures and mishaps on film-making ... This is a revealing book about Altman and his films, and will answer lots of questions from film buffs.

Oxford Times
Critic Reviews

Hearing in his own words in Altman on Altman just how much of his films occur spontaneously, as a result of last-minute decisions on set, is facinating... For film lovers, this is just about indispensable.

Ben Sloan, Metro London {Main}
Critic Reviews

Altman thought he'd become a millionare after the war, tatooing dogs with identity codes ... instead he lied his way into shooting, editing, filming and scoring industrial films ... His maverick nature made him a natural to film 'M*A*S*H'.

Claran Carty, Sunday Tribune (Dublin)
Critic Reviews

Altman is that rare creature, a director within the commercial American system whose best work is elliptical, edging suggestively around its themes and characters.

Andrew Tudor, New Humanist
Critic Reviews

A very welcome addition to Faber's indispensable series, the opportunity to have one of cinema's true maverick talents give a personal account of a career defined by risk and experimentation is every bit as fascinating as you'd expect. Expertly engaged by Thompson, Altman speaks with great candour - and humour - about his near six decades in film ... Altman emerges as a truly independent filmmaker whose passionate engagement with the creative process makes it easy to see why he is so lauded by other directors.

Critic Reviews

Informative and unfailingly readable, and with its exemplary filmography and TVography it makes a worthy addition to the Directors on Directors catalogue.

Philip Kemp, Sight and Sound

David Thompson is the co-editor of Scorsese on Scorsese, as well as the editor of Altman on Altman and Levinson on Levinson. He also edited an edition of the letters of Jean Renoir. He has also had a career making documentaries for the BBC.

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