Whilst Robert Altman has built himself a reputation as one of the greatest modern American directors it took a lot of toil and frustration before he got into the film industry. Whilst he’s best known for the likes of Nashville, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Player or M.A.S.H, he spent years working in TV and on industrial films. His second feature and first independent film, That Cold Day in the Park, bears many of his hallmarks and gives an inkling of what was to come.
Frances Austen (Sandy Dennis) is a lonely young woman living alone and stuck in a world occupied by her parents’ friends. During one particularly boring tea party she spies a boy (Michael Burns) sat alone in the park in the pouring rain. After the guests leave she invites him in. Despite him not speaking a word she becomes attached to him, allowing him to remain in her apartment and buying him gifts.
That Cold Day in the Park is a psychological thriller which bears many similarities to the early works of Roman Polanski. Sandy Dennis is exceptional in her portrayal of loneliness and repression which has slid into mental illness. There are flashes of the Altman tropes which we’ve become accustomed to in his later work, and whilst it’s by no means a classic, it’s a highly enjoyable and watchable drama.
- New high-definition master
- Uncompressed audio on the Blu-ray
- New video interview with critic and filmmaker David Thompson, editor of Altman on Altman
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new writing and archival images
That Cold Day in the Park is available on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD and is released by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on Monday.