I Watched a Film!

A bit of a slow puzzler (with an actual jigsaw puzzle in to boot) about a crazed wealthy wife of a terrible-joke-telling bird-hunter. She’s apparently a children’s book author (snippets of colorful fantasy prose are sprinkled in) who keeps seeing apparitions, two of them louts who are trying hard to have sex with her, but they seem to be interchangeable with her actual husband, who hardly seems concerned that she seems to be going completely off her rocker. Another apparition is actually herself, leading me to imagine that this was something like a double ghost story, a bit like that The Others film.

Susannah York is lovely as the lead here, and everything that happens to her, especially when we’re being shown little ornamental, dangling, wind-chime baubles, seems to be going on only in her mind. Though there is some discussion of ghosts, no one else is seeing what she sees. When she plunges a kitchen knife into one of the burly lover-boys he goes down, but is apparently just fine when she drops his daughter back off to him. I’m not sure there’s any solution here, just a load of instant fantasy (though she doesn’t seem to want the fantasy) around a pair of aggressive men and herself.

I’d have preferred a more stringent dedication to the fantasy of the mind that interrupts us all day long, instead of rolling this thing into a kind of horror film replete with shotgun blasts and car chases. Maybe it’s a warning about too much introversion in creative people. There’s a bit of casualness about the way the partners treat one another, the jokes are bad, but sometimes she laughs hard at the familiar habit of her husband, other times his jokes are kind of mean, and she’s left frustrated with this lack of respect. You can’t take a joke?

this is running free on prime (usa) and as an Altman product I really expected something entirely different!

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