Altman's second major commercial success, Nashville (1975), a sprawling, multilayered drama set in the world of country music, is widely considered his masterpiece. In the 1980s he turned to theater and theatrical adaptations in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (play and film, 1982), Streamers (1983), and Fool for Love (1985). He returned to popular and critical favor with the film The Player (1992), a witty skewering of the Hollywood movie scene that features one of the most spectacular tracking shots in movie history. Altman struck directorial gold again in Gosford Park (2001), a witty, stylish, and multileveled social comedy–murder mystery set in a 1930s English country estate, which displays his ensemble technique and his keen awareness of class and sexual conflicts. Among Altman's other movies are Vincent and Theo (1990); Short Cuts (1993); Kansas City (1996); The Company (2003), a drama inspired by the Joffrey Ballet; and the elegaic A Prairie Home Companion (2006), his last film. In addition, he directed two mock political documentaries for television, the series Tanner '88 (1988) and Tanner on Tanner (2004), both with screenplays by Garry Trudeau. Altman was also a screenwriter and producer. In 2006 he was awarded an Academy Award for lifetime achievement.
See biography by P. McGilligan (1989); M. Zuckoff, Robert Altman: The Oral Biography (2009); Robert Altman: A Guide to References and Resources (1984); studies by G. Plecki (1985), H. Keyssar (1991), and D. O'Brien (1995).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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