My favorite part of tonight’s Robert Altman documentary on Epix TV is this revelation: early on, Altman– maybe the greatest American filmmaker– was fired by movie exec Richard Zanuck because he had overlapping dialogue in a TV show. Of course, Altman a few years later became famous for that style which turned up in his now classic movies like “MASH” and “Nashville” and “Gosford Park,” among others.
Ron Mann’s excellent doc contains lots of unseen footage from behind the scenes of shooting Altman films, plenty of interviews with the director himself, and lots of home movies courtesy of Altman’s wife, Kathryn Reed, a gorgeous spitfire who signed on in 1957 and ran the Altman family like a Navy admiral. The Altmans were one of the great couples of Hollywood lore, and Kathryn continues to be a guiding light several years after Bob’s death.
The “Altman” doc will be on Epix tonight (check cable schedules) and will have a theatrical run this fall.