And so it goes. But he leaves behind a remarkable string of work that will go in and out of favor for decades, being rediscovered, evaluated and fawned over. I am sorry that Prairie Home Companion was his last film. It’s nice that it was that rather than The Company or something, so that he got to see another film of his play for more than a week in LA, but even up to Gosford Park, he managed to bring a good sized audience along with him.
So what are your favorites? I love the music scenes in Kansas City, and almost everything about Gosford Park. I’ve watched The Player maybe half a dozen times and could watch it again in a second. Nashville never moved me, good as I realize it is, but it did come in the middle of that remarkable string of films from 70 to 75. For me it’s MASH, The Long Goodbye and California Split, for Elliot Gould as much as Altman, for their creation of a mumbling oddball character and reimagining him three times over.
And are there any directors working now who could possibly put out the range, frequency, and riskiness of the films Altman got made? Or is the industry and the audience in such a state now that such things could never happen again?