A Walk in the Woods
These guys still know how to not just hold our attention but grab it, even if their current film needs them more than they need…
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
From Jason Haggstrom (haggie), Reel 3:
The opening shot of Robert Altman's "The Player" establishes the film as a self-reflexive deconstruction of the Hollywood system and those who run it. With its prolonged shot length, the take is also designed as a means to introduce the bevy of players who work on the lot and to setup the film's general plot--or at least its tone--as a thriller/murder mystery.
The first image in this extended opening shot is of a film set--a painting of one, to be precise. We hear the sounds of a film crew before a clapper pops into the frame. The (off-screen) director shouts "And... action" informing the audience that the film should be viewed as a construct, a film. The camera tracks back to reveal its location on a Hollywood studio lot where movies are described not in accolades of quality, but of quantity with an oversized sign that reads, "Movies, now more than ever."
The lot is filled with commotion. Writers come and go (some invited, some not) as do executives, pages, and assistants. The political hierarchy is highlighted through dialog and interactions that expose the value system of Hollywood. The most powerful arrive by car; high-end models pervade the mise-en-scène in all of the take's exterior moments. An assistant is made to run (literally, and in high heels) for the mail, and then -- before she even has a chance to catch her breath -- to park an executive's car.
When Lillian Gish arrived at the Armour Mansion in Lake Bluff for her role in Robert Altman's “A Wedding”, one of the first people she ran into was Dina Merrill, the actress whose mother was Marjorie Merriweather Post, the famous socialite.
"You're gonna think this is crazy," Cliff Robertson was saying, "but I think the Libertarian Party has the right idea. There ought to be a place on the ballot where you could vote for None of the Above. Then maybe in November the parties would have to go back and nominate somebody else . . ." He grinned wickedly at the notion. This was the other night at O'Rourke's, where he's settled into the corner of a booth after a flight from San Francisco. He was in town to talk about his new movie, "Obsession," but the conversation turned into a debriefing about the Democratic primaries. Here it was August and he was STILL for Mo Udall.