Tuesday, September 08, 2015

THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK (1969) - Robert Altman


Could this be the most serious movie about pot cookies ever made? Sandy Dennis plays a bored socialite who invites the young mute drifter she meets in a nearby park to stay in her home during a rainstorm. The twist is that she's the unhinged one, a possessive, psychotic 30-year-old virgin ala Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion or a younger Kathy Bates in Misery. She develops such a fixation that she begins locking him in the guest room, goes so far as to procure a prostitute for him later on when he refuses to have sex. The other smaller surprise is that our drifter is not really mute but an opportunistic counterculture ne'er-do-well using Dennis for her riches. We find out midway through that he's got his own weird thing going with his hippie sister, who sends him back to Dennis's swank crib with hash-laced Tollhouse morsels just to see what happens.

What happens? Not much. Dennis' character is so loopy already the pot cookies don't seem to have much effect. What happens after that I won't spoil, though if you've seen Images or even 3 Women, Altman's other flicks about psychologically imbalanced ladies, you probably have a good idea. I'd rate this one somewhere between those two, better than Images though not nearly as dense and well-photographed as 3 Women. Nonetheless, an interesting early Altman work.

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