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Cookie's Fortune [DVD] [1999]

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Cookie's Fortune [DVD] [1999] + Popeye [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Charles S. Dutton
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Anne Rapp
  • Producers: Robert Altman, David Levy, Ernst Etchie Stroh, James McLindon, Willi Bär
  • Format: Letterboxed, PAL
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Mar 2002
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WCL7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,033 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

DVD Special Features: Theatrical trailer
Cast & Crew Interviews
Production Notes
The making of 'Cookie's Fortune' Featurette

Language: English, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
1.85:1 widescreen version


Robert Altman's films are generally known for their cool misanthropy, but Cookie's Fortune finds the veteran director in atypically genial mood. Set in a sleepy Mississippi township, it takes in suicide, fraud and wrongful arrest, but there's never any feeling of peril. A white Southern sheriff; a black man held for the murder of an elderly white woman; all the ingredients for an explosion of racist venom, you'd think. But no, not this time. The dead woman is the Cookie of the title, sweetly dappy, who decides to join her beloved dead husband; the black man is Willis, her live-in factotum. But Cookie's snobbish niece Camille (Glenn Close, pulling out a few extra stops on her Cruella DeVil persona) can't bear the thought of suicide besmirching the family name, and fixes the evidence so that Willis is accused of murder. Not that the sheriff believes it for a second; hell, he and Willis go fishing together...

As ever, Altman directs with freewheeling aplomb and ropes in a whole cast of eccentric characters, all of whom dive into their roles with gusto. Julianne Moore, as Camille's dippy sister, gets some of the most outrageous scenes; her gloriously inept performance in Wilde's Salome for the local amateur production has to be seen to be disbelieved. OK, maybe the South was never as lazily easy-going and largely colour-blind as it's presented here; but it's hard not to suspend disbelief and relax into this beguilingly shaggy-doggish Southern comfort of a movie.

On the DVD: the usual ingredients--theatrical trailer, written production notes, a 10-minute featurette on the making of the movie and brief snatches of interview with the director and his lead players. No revelations, but everyone seems to have had a genuinely good time--as always the actors adore working with Altman. Widescreen (1.85:1) ratio and Dolby 5.1 make the most of his practised eye (and ear) for detail. --Philip Kemp

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By on 11 Aug 2000
Format: DVD
this is one of the better comedy films to have been produced in the last decade, the choice of actors could not have been better. the outline plot centres around a family torn in all directions. the matriach (cookie) dies, glenn close assumes its suicide and eats the letter fearing the family name will be put to shame. taking the "fortune" with her, close is determined to prove that cookie was murdered and lays the blame with cookies gardener. she then starts a trail of destruction which leads to an unpridictable and chaotic ending. also starring liv tyler and chris o'donnell this film is one you will be ready to watch again as soon as its over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2007
Format: DVD
Southern gothic is a pretty tough genre to tackle, especially in movies.

But Robert Altman gave it his best with "Cookie's Fortune," a little black comedy taking place over the Easter weekend. He crammed it with eccentricity, odd twists and likably atypical characters, but the second half gets a bit carried away by self-consciousness weirdess and melodrama.

It's the day before Easter in the Southern town of Holly Springs. Pushy, self-righteous spinster Camille Dixon (Glenn Close) and her mentally challenged sister Cora (Julianne Moore) are rehearsing the Easter play, "Salome." Cora's rebellious daughter Emma (Liv Tyler) has just come back to town, as her naive boyfriend (Chris O'Donnell) has become a cop.

Meanwhile, eccenric matriarch Cookie Orcutt (Patricia Neal) has become obsessed with joining her dead hubby, Buck. So she shoots herself, minutes before her Camille arrives. Fearful of the scandal a suicide would cause ("Suicide is a disgrace! Only crazy people commit suicide!"), Camille fakes a robbery and murder scene.

There's only really one suspect: Willis (Charles S. Dutton), Cookie's handyman/cook/best pal, who lives on the premises and was polishing the guns the night before. As Camille revels in her presumed inheritance, Willis and Emma help piece together the evidence left behind -- and unwittingly unearth some peculiar family secrets.

"Cookie's Fortune" isn't a typical murder mystery. Sure, the cops are ferreting out clues and motives, but Robert Altman creates a town that basically moves along at a steady, languid pace, and nobody really gets worked up -- even a murder doesn't ruffle them enough to make them lock the cells.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Feb 2008
Format: DVD
Says lawyer Jack Palmer to Emma Duval, explaining the fate of her long gone father, a man she was told years ago had died while doing missionary work in Africa after he'd left his family. "He died alright, about four years later, somewhere down in Alabama in a button factory accident. Seems the hole poker machine broke loose and fell on him. They say he had 273 holes in him before they could get it off."

After all that Emma and her friend Willis Richland have experienced in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, it seems perfectly natural when Emma cries out in exasperation, "Willis, what is wrong with all these people?"

The important point is that they all are part of a movie of great ease and geniality. Cookie's Fortune may be a little sentimental, perhaps, but it is so sweet-natured and natural, and so skillfully presented, that I think the film ranks among Altman's most accomplished works...even if what powers it is an old lady blowing her brains out.

Jewel Mae Orcutt -- Cookie (Patricia Neal) - is aging and increasingly infirm, and she longs for her deceased husband, Buck. When she decides to use one of Buck's pistols to join him, she sets off the avarice of her niece, Camille Dixon (Glenn Close), who pulls along her slow-witted sister, Cora Duval (Julianne Moore). Camille is determined that no hint of a suicide will scandalize the family name, so she makes things look like a burglary gone bad. And, unintentionally, makes it look as if Willis Richland (Charles S. Dutton), a close friend of Cookie's who had worked around the house for her, must have done the deed. Well, there's no way Emma Duval (Liv Tyler) an unconventional young woman who is seriously estranged from her mother, Cora, and her aunt, is going to buy that.
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Format: DVD
What I enjoyed most about this whimsical film is it's dramatic irony and care free attitude. A comedy about a murder that is not a murder. Like "Short Cuts", Altman intentionally develops characters to initially confuse the viewer, a sort of satisfying misrepresentation which, for me, leaves a smile on the face. Take the black man Willis (Charles S. Dutton) who is first seen drunk, stealing half a pint of Wild Turkey from a bar, breaking into a large house and raiding a gun cabinet. Or the obviously wealthy homeowner, an elderly white woman Cookie (Patricia Neal), who appears to be dementing and vulnerable. What ensues is funny and moving. Not least for its Southern setting whose racial harmony and community spirit is beyond reproach. There are no villains as such. The nearest would be Camille Dixon (Glen Close), a control freak who is obsessed with family reputation. Even she, however, is shocked to discover the consequences of her instinctive actions. The scene with her hand in the cookie jar was magnificent. The material is familiar but Altman's touch adds a depth of feeling rarely encountered in these types of comedy murder mysteries. For instance, Cookie's love for her departed husband is so intense and genuine that I understood why she did what she did. Similarly, Willis is a faultless character, a man who's loyalty and integrity surpass mere mortals. Even the seemingly lecherous fishmonger Manny Hood (Lyle Lovett) turns out to be as benign as the rest of the small town's inhabitants, including the police who are probably the most polite and endearing butch of cops I've ever seen.
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