The incandescent beginning of Robert Altman's in-the-early-days-not-so-covert covert war on sex. Altman is not opposed to the libidinal, in general, but rather to how the social disfigures desire, and how sex becomes about absorption into a perilous social contract. Also: best honorarily-Canadian American feature evah!
We are born alone. Yet, as the days go by, our desire to be with someone gets stronger. Many have given this a name. They call it friendship. Some say it's sex. Many more prefer the word love. For Frances Austin (Sandy Dennis) this is a bit unclear. An early Altman masterpiece, THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK is about the horror of living, imprisoned by the social contract of sexual repress; and how one woman goes bonkers.
Early, pre-MASH Altman, notable in the development of his already remarkable way with zoom lenses and sound design. Gorgeously directed, for sure, with a few terrific scenes. But this psychodrama, part of the same hip-meets-square late 60s trend as Petulia and Faces, is also misshapen as hell, moving under sedation for an hour before going all Bava in a bonkers finale that makes neither literal nor symbolic sense.
Altman's second feature is a stylishly directed, if slight look at a lonely woman's obsession with a mute drifter she takes into her apartment. The plot really doesn't really go anywhere interesting beyond it's initial premise until the final twenty minutes or so, making it a sort of slow burning character study, with Sandy Dennis' performance here usually being reserved and a bit hard to read, emotionally. Strange.