Altman, a new documentary shortly to be shown in the USA, features a fascinating portrait of the legendary director of MASH, Nashville, The Player, McCabe and Mrs Miller and Short Cuts.
In the documentary, the legendary director is asked about The Player, in which a studio executive gets away with murder. “Things aren’t really like that, they’re much worse,” Altman declared.
Scenes from previously unseen home movies feature in the Ron Mann-directed documentary, including a short film the director made about his wife, the former television actress, Kathryn Reed Altman.
Altman was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1925 and had some Irish ancestry. He was raised a Catholic and attended a number of Jesuit schools.
In 1943 Altman joined the United States Army Air Forces at the age of 18, where some of his experiences provided the inspiration for the film Mash. During World War II, he flew more than 50 bombing missions as a crewman in Borneo and the Dutch East Indies.
Early in his movie career, he was hired by Hitchcock as a director on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. After working together on just two episodes, the partnership ended due to Altman's dispute with a producer.
Altman was still directing films when he died in 2006, at 81 years of age.