June 9, 2021
97. Robert Altman's 'California Split' (1974)
The recent death of actor George Segal sent me to finally watch Altman's 1974 gambling opus, 'California Split', starring Segal and Elliot Gould. It's a fantastic film and a great representation of the prime Altman ouvre. But behind the scenes and extending into the present day...there are cast-member murders, deaths, prison stints, and tragedies that offer a hypothetical parallell to the varied paths taken or not taken by many American children of the 60's navigating the decades beyond. In this episode, I talk about Altman's history in Hollywood, his three main periods of filmmaking, including his late-career renaissance in the 90's, and explore the tragic deaths of 4 female cast members as well as the bizarre cult that provided all the extras used in the film. A masterwork of American ennui and a timeless time capsule of 1970's American neuroses, 'California Split' is a lot of fun with some surprisingly moving conclusions when all is said and done.