Director speaks about Robert Altman’s influence


"His influence is huge today," says Ryan Fleck, whose own mightily impressive debut feature, Half Nelson (released in April), bears the unmistakable Altman imprint. "Everyone I know loves his work." Of all Altman's films, Fleck picks out McCabe & Mrs Miller as his favourite. "It's perfect for me: perfect in its imperfections," he says. 

McCabe, played by Warren Beatty, is a handsome, none-too-bright gambler who arrives in a frontier town and sets up a brothel with the help of Julie Christie's shrewd Cockney madame. A brace of slick city types turn up wanting to buy him out. When McCabe arrogantly turns them down, they are replaced by a band of heavies. As in all Altman's films, though, the story is not the main thing: McCabe & Mrs Miller is about the characters, the place - the remote American north-west as it sinks inexorably into winter - and the potent, oneiric atmosphere. 

(Source: UK Telegraph)

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