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That Cold Day In The Park [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,635 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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Robert Altman was one of the more interesting American film-makers,and this was his 1st feature,shot in Vancouver,about a lonely,wealthy spinster,Frances(Sandy Dennis),who goes to great lengths to assuage her loneliness.This is a psychological gothic thriller,showing one of the many troubled women that Altman made as the subject of his films.It’s high on atmosphere and subjectivity,and the weirdnesses that operate within normalcy.She entertains an elderly suitor and plays hostess to an elderly group of people.She occupies a well-upholstered apartment.One day she sees from her window a homeless,young man sitting on a park bench in the rain,and invites him in,to give him shelter,clothes,food and care.He appears mute,and is handsome. However, because he doesn’t appear to speak,she doesn’t recognise the complexity of his life.Although she gives him a room and bed,he sneaks from the window each night,A conflict is set up and her loneliness and need for love becomes pathological in its demands. There ensues a battle of wits between the two.

Dennis gives her usual restrained,mannered performance,with an expressive use of her mobile features,but attempting to break free from the bourgeois rituals that have become a dead-end-in contrast to glimpses of the boy’s outer life,the lesbian bars and tawdry streets she has to trawl to satisfy her find.There are scenes set in a restaurant and gynaecological clinic,where Altman’s use of overlapping voices,is 1st shown. There are scenes shot in a house boat,where the young man’s sister lives with her draft-dodger boyfriend,and there is a scene set on a bowling green.Most of the film is shot in the woman’s apartment.Dennis gives a brilliant performance,revealing of psychological states and rife with sexual tension.
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There must be two versions the movie I saw at its release had Sandy Dennis killing the guy at the end with blood every where
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8fd9fbd0) out of 5 stars 36 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x902040f0) out of 5 stars Distinguished stage actress in her finest hour on screen. 13 Sept. 2000
By chad edwards - Published on
Desperate for companionship, a lonely spinster invites a young homeless boy up to her apartment and then goes to drastic measures to make him stay. Following her Oscar-winning turn in Mike Nichols' ground-breaking drama "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?", this is the gifted Sandy Dennis' finest hour on screen. As the demented heroine, Dennis makes you feel your way into her character's dark and ultimately disturbing world. It's a blissful, strikingly effective performance, and watching it one might wonder why Dennis didn't win a second Oscar. The film is also well-directed by a supremely talented fellow by the name of Robert Altman whom you may know as the creator of such hit films as "MASH" and "NASHVILLE". Unfortunately, "THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK" bit the dust at the box-office. Like so many of Altman's films(3 Women, in particular), the movie requires a great deal of patience to fully understand its meanings, but those who sit it out will find it to be a rich, rewarding film.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92008bb8) out of 5 stars Upper middle-class solitude 17 Mar. 2002
By Dr Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on
In this old film by Robert Altman, we discover how solitude for a young woman is a plague on her way to happiness and satisfaction. She comes to the point where she cannot even ask anyone for the contact she desires. She lives in a completely artificial and closed world. One day she brings into her world a stranger she finds in a park and she desires him but she treats him like a canaribird in a cage : she feeds him, she bathes him, she dresses him, she provides him with all comfort, she even provides him with a woman, but he cannot escape, he is a prisoner. It is only within that frame and after a long evolution that she finally finds the courage to ask for what she wants, and yet with no promise that the cage will be reopened. In other words, after a long life with her mother after the death of her father and among people who are from her mother's world, she is totally handicapped in society and unable to navigate properly among desires and obstacles. She can only take and possess. The other is no longer a human being but a toy, a doll in a way. A very sad picture of the loneliness of the solitary young lady in the upper middle-class....
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x901f4324) out of 5 stars It was squirmy fascination, I know - 4 & 1/2 stars 6 Jan. 2013
By William Timothy Lukeman - Published on
Format: DVD
This early Robert Altman film is a small (if deeply unsettling) little jewel, distinguished by a superb performance by Sandy Dennis. As a sheltered, naïve, but creepily neurotic woman without a clue as to how the world of human relationships actually functions, she quietly dominates the screen. And she's well-matched by the young Michael Burns, far more cunning & manipulative than his initially mute charade suggests -- but he's in over his head, horribly so, as he discovers much too late in the game.

And what is the game?

Sandy Dennis' Frances is a spinster, emotionally swaddled & smothered, yearning for human love & human contact, but utterly lost in the real world outside her apartment. When she encounters Michael Burns (simply The Boy) in the park, she takes him home, which is fine with him. It's only as the story continues that he & we begin to understand just how troubled & dangerous Frances really is ...

In some ways like "The Collector," only with the roles reversed, this film differs in that its leads aren't really that sympathetic. Altman tends to shoot them through windows & panes of glass, distancing them, creating a detached & voyeuristic atmosphere. Add to that the washed-out lighting that exposes every bit of grime & decay, and the result is both clinically & uncomfortably intimate.

The fact that it was made when movies were pushing against the last vestiges of censorship gives it a peculiar intensity. Nowadays everything can be said & shown; back then, it was genuinely daring to even try. So even though what we see is comparatively tame beside the explicitness of modern films, it possesses a genuine & powerful perversity that most modern films can't approach.

It's not for casual viewing, and not something you'd want to watch too often. But it'll stay with you, whether you want it to or not. I'm delighted to see it's finally available on DVD, as it's the first of Robert Altman's many films to fully bear his imprint, and deserves greater exposure. Darkly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fde02ac) out of 5 stars great creepy film 27 Jun. 2009
By Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ - Published on
The plot of Cold Day In The Park is pretty simple: A sexually inexperanced spinceter-Sandy Dennis-sees a young man outside her house in the rain. She takes him in, feeds him, and cares for him. He makes himself at home for the next few days. Soon, his host gets the hots, but, she being very proper in 1969, can't quite bring herself to make the move. He, on the other hand, couldn't care less. He is more interested in eating her food.

Eventually, the lady gets crazy, gets birth contol, and hires an ugly hooker, to do, I guess, what she can't bring herslef to. This women is a lot nuttier than we are first led to think, and things, let's just say. do not end well.

This was the film Robert Altman made before M*A*S*H made him a big star. It was fillmed in Canada, and has a small, stage-like quality. The young man, played by Michael Burns--who played Blueboy on that famous Dragnet acid episode (I am the train, I am the train)-refuses to talk. So much of this film goes by without a lot of dioluge. There are also a lot of theatre games and pantamime Altman works into Cold Day In The Park.

Personally, I like that late 60s style of flim making, where the pace is slow and there are long sections of quiet. The diolouge is almost written AROUND the plot, not in serivce of it, and you really have to sit quietly and watch the story slowly unfold.

In our world of MTV and fast pace editing, 1969s Cold Day In The Park may seem tedious for modern viewers. But for those who enjoy a quiet film that works more on spareness and nuance than action, this is defiantely work watching.

Inncidentally, the theme music is by Johnny Mandel, and Quincy Jones, on his Walking In Space album, covers it. This is also well worth checking out.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9002933c) out of 5 stars Intense Unique Poignant 12 Dec. 1999
By Adam Bernstein - Published on
Sandy Dennis is at her best in this film set in Vancouver in 1969. She plays a lonely woman and takes in a guy who pretends to be a mute. The most powerful aspect is what's going on in her mind..her break with reality when she realizes her vision of their relationship is an illusion. This mute guy is one evil dude. It's easy to empathize with Sandy's character. Another unique experiment in '60s revolutionary film: smashing many societal barriers.
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