Streetwise Charlie and married Bill play gambling fiends in Altman’s SoCal study in friendship, mania, and the rush of chance. Chasing the ever-receding goal of a streak, the pair hustle themselves into the ground, as Gould and Segal bring wired charisma and an extraordinary lived-in camaraderie to their roles. The card games, poker halls, and racetracks come alive with Altman’s dense soundscapes in a movie too often overshadowed by the director’s panoramic works in the same decade. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
An iconoclast whose work acutely attacked the conventions of genre filmmaking, Altman both satirized and revitalized such warhorses as the Western, the musical, and the crime drama, waging war on the sterile artifice of mainstream storytelling by creating a singularly sprawling and deliberately messy cinematic world bursting at the seams with sounds, images, characters, and plot lines. Famed for his inventive brand of overlapping (and often improvisational) dialogue and an acknowledged master of modern camera technique, Altman’s quixotic career has been uneven at best, yet he remains a pivotal figure of contemporary cinema, a true maverick responsible for many of the defining motion pictures of his times. Born February 20, 1925, in Kansas City, MO, Altman was educated in Jesuit schools prior to joining the Army at the age of 18; over the course of WWII, he flew over 50 bombing missions in Borneo and the Dutch East Indies. Upon his discharge in 1947, Altman studied engineering at the… read more
Captures the haphazard nature of a life lived with relentless desire pursued by white hot fear and desperation. These two characters are truly outside of society. One of Altman's best. Gould and Segal are incredible.
The film is a jazz concert. The anarchic, almost inconsequential progression builds its own atmosphere, and finally creates its own message. You get to wonder if a proper script was even needed, for all it's worth it could have been shot on a five-page draft, since the real heart of the film lies in the energy of Segal, Gould and Altman.