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Robert Altman’s SoundtracksFilm, Music, and Sound from M*A*S*H to A Prairie Home Companion$
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Gayle Sherwood Magee

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199915965

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199915965.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 January 2022

Nostalgia Trips

Nostalgia Trips

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter 3 Nostalgia Trips
Source:
Robert Altman’s Soundtracks
Author(s):

Gayle Sherwood Magee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199915965.003.0004

All three of Altman’s films from 1973 to 1974 reflect a larger trend in New Hollywood films, and indeed in early 1970s American culture, by evoking the early 1930s through the immediate postwar period of the later 1940s. The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, and California Split engage with issues of memory, identity, and cinematic history, and all three films incorporate elements of film noir, to varying degrees, as part of their self-reflexive strategies. Most important, all three films engage with similar musical materials based on classic jazz, yet with unique results. Altman introduces a new standard with continuous reinterpretations in The Long Goodbye, while pervasive, contemporary radio broadcasts create an off-screen chorus in Thieves Like Us. California Split offers the most integrated musical score, in which a collage of jazz standards provides the film’s sinew, tying together a ragged story of two gamblers and their dynamic friendship.

Keywords:   The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, California Split, neo-noir, John Williams

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