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Author: Mitchell Zuckoff
ISBN13: 978-0307267689
Title: Robert Altman: The Oral Biography
Format: azw lrf lrf mbr
ePUB size: 1338 kb
FB2 size: 1949 kb
DJVU size: 1661 kb
Language: English
Category: Movies
Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 20, 2009)
Pages: 576

Robert Altman: The Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff

Personal Name: Altman, Robert, 1925-2006. Rubrics: Motion picture producers and directors United States Biography. Download book Robert Altman : the oral biography, Mitchell Zuckoff.

I have the book but I decided to listen to the audiobook and use the book for clarification and to see the photos. Mitchell interviewed many actors who worked with Altman over the years along with relatives, friends, producers, film critics, etc. The list was exhaustive. He worked closely with Altman himself until he died.

Mitchell Zuckoff invited a multitude of voices telling about the Robert Altman they knew allowing readers to sift through the stories to find the man himself. It helps that those speaking are an articulate, amusing bunch unafraid to tell embarrassing stories in which they feature or to call Kevin Spacey the "Norman Bates of Show Business", for instance. It actually makes a lot of sense to do an oral biography of Altman, as his films often presented an amalgam of voices, just as this book sets out to do. While Altman receives the well-rounded treatment, with one person (David Pinker) expressing almost wholly negative views of the man, there are several drawbacks to the oral biography form. For one, the content is wholly dependent on the people who agree to be interviewed.

Includes filmography and index. Kansas City - Into the river - 307th Bomber Group - Making pictures - The Calvin company - The delinquents - California - Kathryn - Cheese - No milk - Countdown - Act II: 1970-1980

Personal Name: Zuckoff, Mitchell. Personal Name: Altman, Robert, 1925-2006. Download now Robert Altman : the oral biography by Mitchell Zuckoff. Download PDF book format. Download DOC book format.

Yet Mitchell Zuckoff, who interviewed 145 people for the long, insanely admiring "Robert Altman: The Oral Biography," never comes to grips with the effect this had on his films. Zuckoff basically knows nothing about filmmaking and film history, so he has to take his witnesses at their word: It was so much fun, so different from their other moviemaking experiences, therefore the product had to be better. Even a casually objective observer has to see that something else was going on here. The portrait of Altman that emerges in this book is of a permissive man - especially with himself. Addled by his addictions, a habitual gambler, disastrously careless with money and with intimate relations, he left us feeling we were trapped in someone else's drug haze. Within a decade of "MASH," he was pushed back to the margins from which he had sprung.

It takes more than 150 pages for Mitchell Zuckoff’s oral biography of Robert Altman to get to M A S H, the 1970 movie that transformed its director from a workaday toiler into a one-man film movement, gave us the adjective Altmanesque and jump-started a career that would encompass 36 more years and 31 more movies - follies, comebacks, muddles an. Altman died at 81 in 2006, before the author’s work was finished, and his voice is often absent from the book’s last third.

Robert Altman—visionary director, hard-partying hedonist, eccentric family man, Hollywood legend—comes roaring to life in this rollicking cinematic biography, told in a chorus of voices that can only be called Altmanesque.His outsized life and unique career are revealed as never before: here are the words of his family and friends, and a few enemies, as well as the agents, writers, crew members, producers, and stars who worked with him, including Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Elliott Gould, Martin Scorsese, Robin Williams, Cher, and many others. There is even Altman himself, in the form of his exclusive last interviews.After an all-American boyhood in Kansas City, a stint flying bombers through enemy fire in World War II, and jobs ranging from dog-tattoo entrepreneur to television director, Robert Altman burst onto the scene in 1970 with the movie M*A*S*H. He revolutionized American filmmaking, and, in a decade, produced masterpieces at an astonishing pace: McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, and, of course, Nashville. Then, after a period of disillusionment with Hollywood—as well as Hollywood’s disillusionment with him—he reinvented himself with a bold new set of masterworks: The Player, Short Cuts, and Gosford Park. Finally, just before the release of the last of his nearly forty movies, A Prairie Home Companion, he received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement from the Academy, which had snubbed him for so many years.Mitchell Zuckoff—who was working with Altman on his memoirs before he died—weaves Altman’s final interviews, an incredible cast of voices, and contemporary reviews and news accounts, into a riveting tale of an extraordinary life. Here are page after page of revelations that force us to reevaluate Altman as a man and an artist, and to view his sprawling narratives with large casts, multiple story lines, and overlapping dialogue as unquestionably the work of a modern genius.
Reviews: 7
If you've seen even one Robert Altman movie you know that this is a man who would want his story told as an oral history. Altman's use of overlapping dialogue forced the audience to choose which voice to listen to in a cacophony of sound. Mitchell Zuckoff invited a multitude of voices telling about the Robert Altman they knew allowing readers to sift through the stories to find the man himself.

It helps that those speaking are an articulate, amusing bunch unafraid to tell embarrassing stories in which they feature or to call Kevin Spacey the "Norman Bates of Show Business", for instance. No amount of wit would make the first half dozen chapters fly by, however. It's admirable that Zuckoff wants to document the whole of Altman's life but I would have been satisfied with fewer stories of Bob's adventures at summer camp. Once Altman starts making movies Zuckoff's pacing spot on, mixing details about the financing of MASH with choice gossip like Altman's affair with Faye Dunaway. I'm still in awe of that revelation - wouldn't have pegged those two in a million years.

The picture that emerges is of a well-loved if not entirely likable man. Zuckoff shows why so many actors were devoted to Altman but he also shows that Altman was just another nasty, loud-mouthed drunk on occasion. One minute you find yourself fascinated by the loyalty Altman engendered, the next you're appalled at the loyalty he insisted upon. Like so many artists Altman put his work above any human relationship and that can be hard to take in large doses.

This isn't a critical assessment of Altman's work or an interpretation of his films. It's Altman's life story and critical to that is the story of his work so there are plenty of details about how nearly all of his films were made. Whether you're a fan or not (I'm merely a sometime fan of his work), this is a very enjoyable book, not unlike spending a three-day long bender with the man himself, but without the hangover.

Recommended for film and biography fans. Note that this is a true oral biography with very little connective narrative.
As a big Altman fan and a big fan of the oral biography form, it's not surprising that this book had me at hello. What an enjoyable read! Even the early life, slow sledding in most biographies, is vibrant and entertaining. Robert Altman is remembered in vivid detail by those who knew him, loved him, worked with him, sometimes didn't like him. In some cases the witnesses who comprise this book (including Altman himself -- the project started out as an authorized biography) disagree in their memories, or perhaps in what they choose to say. In a way it's like an Altman movie -- a cacophony of voices, sometimes talking over each other, full of images. And very funny. This is no eat-your-peas biography. When is the last time you didn't want to put a biography down or found yourself rationing the remaining pages to prolong it? He was a complex character, that is for sure. This book captures him as well as could reasonably be hoped for.

One striking thing is how many of the actors and (especially) actresses say essentially the same thing: the reason they are so grateful to him is he trusted them and let them spread their wings. He said let it go, trust yourself, and I won't let you be embarrassed. He didn't, and they delivered many of the shining moments in his movies. There is one great scene where a young Matthew Modine keeps wanting to go over his big scene with Altman, talk it through, and Altman kept putting him off. Then before Modine knew it the scene had been shot. Afterward Altman put a hand on his shoulder and said look, kid, you're the actor; if it was my interpretation of your character I wanted I would have cast myself. After a while word got around and a who's who of star actors were in Altman movies, sometimes at scale rates. In a sense it is a book about the movies and in another sense it isn't really about movies at all. He was a fascinating person. As one of the witnesses says (ex brother in law?), Bob was a flame who attracted many moths.
This is a fine biography of the director Robert Altman, focusing on his films and his personality. It is told by means of quoted interviews by those who knew him well, and provides a very in-depth view of the man and his work.
I believe that listening to this book, instead of reading it, in fact enhanced the experience. A very personal and intimate view into someone whose life was that of an icon, presented in a way that captured the way the subject himself would have presented it. Or if he didn't, he would have accepted this rendition of his life as valid. Mitchell Zuckoff, by using multiple characters who personally had in fact had personal exchanges with the subject in his presentation, accomplished his goal just as if Mr. Altman himself would have. A very pleasant and informative listen.
Love Altman and loved this book. His story told by the people who knew him best and worked with him for years.
Mr. Zuckoff probably did a good job of showing what Robert Altman was like. It's a very interesting portrait. Problem is this guy is not very admirable. He became famous in the movie business because of his longevity. I wouldn't say from reading this book that he worked all that hard or was that talented.
Well written but Altman doesn't really sound like someone to be admired...