That Cold Day in the Park

(Robert Altman, USA, 1969)


That Cold Day in the Park was made by Robert Altman a year before he hit the big time with MASH (1970).

It features actors who pop up in later Altman works – such as Sandy Dennis and Michael Murphy – but it is closer to the psychological chamber dramas of Joseph Losey than the sprawling ensemble pieces the director came to specialise in.

Then again, this sort of intimate psychodrama has been indeed an ongoing aspect of Altman's work – think Images (1972), Three Women (1977), Kansas City (1996) – and it doubtless deserves more attention.

The story concerns a woman (Dennis) obsessed with a young man (Michael Burns) whom she spies upon, and eventually invites into her life.

It is hardly a thriller (as its video slick once declared), but certainly an intriguing and perverse character study.

MORE Altman: Aria, The Company, Cookie's Fortune, Gosford Park, Nashville, The Player, Prêt-à-Porter, Short Cuts

© Adrian Martin June 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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