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Robert Altmans The Player 1992


Appearances by film directors, politicians, athletes, and other celebrities ... the movie we're going to make, Interview by Gavin Smith and Richard T. Jameson. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Robert Altmans The Player 1992

Robert Altmans The Player (1992)
  • General Information
  • Plot Summary
  • Characters
  • Plot Outline
  • The Satire in The Player
  • Habeas Corpus the movie-within-the-movie

General Information
  • Based on the screenplay and novel The Player by
    Michael Tolkin
  • Directed by Robert Altman
  • Cameos brief appearance of a well-known person
    in plays, films and television. Appearances by
    film directors, politicians, athletes, and other
    celebrities are common.

Cameos in The Player
  • Few of the cameos were planned
  • The movie was shot in Hollywood and in so many
    locations that Hollywood figures frequent, most
    of the cameos were just coincidences
  • Their lines were improvised.
  • Most of the actors with cameos received no
  • 60 cameos e.g. Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Cher

  • Plot Summary
  • Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a studio executive
    who selects scripts for production, is being
    blackmailed by an angry writer whose script he
    has not taken into consideration.
  • Mill, whose job is threatened by another studio
    executive, Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher), tries to
    find the writer in order to make him stop sending
    these letters.
  • He calls David Kahane, a young writer, whose
    script has been turned down but on the phone,
    Kane's girlfriend June Gudmundsdottir (Greta
    Scacchi) tells him that David had driven to
    Pasadena to watch watching "The Bicycle Thief".
    Griffin follows him, where had an argument and
    Griffin Mill accidentally kills David Kane.

Plot Summary
  • The police starts investigations. Meanwhile,
    Griffin starts to date June, although he already
    has an affair with Bonny Sherow (Cynthia
    Stevenson) from the studio.
  • Griffin and June begin a love affair, while
    Griffin still receives those postcards.
  • A new project secures Griffin's job. He and June
    travel to Mexico, while the police has found a
    woman who had witnessed Kane's death. Griffin is
    called to Pasadena but is not identified by the
    witness and, thus, is free and gets away with
  • One year later, he is still successful in
    business and married to June.

  • Characters

Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins),
cynical, slimy, and money-obsessed studio
Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher)
cynical, slimy, and money-obsessed studio

David Kahane (Vincent DOnofrio)
Script writer, accidentally killed by Griffin
Mill who believes he is the blackmailer
June Gudmundsdottir (Greta Scacchi)
David Kahanes former gilfriend and later his
widdow Love relation to Griffin Mill later his
wife and pregnant
Bonny Sherow (Cynthia Stevenson)
  • Story editor, love relation with Griffin Mill
    who left her for June, fired at the end because
    she advocates realism of films

Detective Susan Avery (Whoopi Goldberg)
One of the detectives, appears to be a buddy-like
Plot Outline
The Satire of The Player
  • Two schools of thought
  • follows the norms of Hollywood classical
    structure, chock-full of film stars ? The Player
    participates in what it criticises
  • The sheer number of cameos increases the films
    realism and makes the viewer aware of the films
  • Although Griffin is a complete swine, he is the
    protagonist and the viewers want him to get away
    with the murder ? we are more affected by
    structure than by morality

Habeas Corpus the movie-within-the-movie
  • This was the thing that made it work, To show
    how the ending changed was one of the most
    important parts of the film Altman, Robert
    (1997). Director's Commentary on DVD. Ed. By Doug
    Jacobson. Fine Line.
  • Claim by the writer "Habeas Corpus" should stand
    apart from typical Hollywood fare in two ways no
    stars, no happy ending. The film should conclude
    with an innocent woman being executed, "because
    that's the reality - the innocent die." The
    message "is too damned important to risk being
    overwhelmed by personality,"
  • Hollywood distorts and transforms artistic
    projects to fit its successful formulas ? vivid
    and relatively obvious point of this sequence
    in The Player.

Habeas Corpus the movie-within-the-movie
  • comments, as does the movie as a whole, on
    celebrity recognition and on the role of the
    audience in shaping film narratives.
  • In this very self-referential film about
    filmmaking, Habeas Corpus also reflects
    ironically on the plot resolution of The Player
  • The audience in some sense wrote the ending of
    Habeas Corpus, as they did in the famous case
    of Fatal Attraction (where test screenings led to
    a very different ending).

The Ending of The Player
  • The Player itself exhibited the very qualities
    Griffin Mill explained he needed to market a
    film successfully. . . . Suspense, laughter,
    violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings
    - mainly happy endings. (Altman, Robert (1992).
    The movie you saw is the movie we're going to
    make, Interview by Gavin Smith and Richard T.
    Jameson. Film Comment 28 (3), pp. 20-30.)
  • final pitch disguised bribe by the threatening
    writer who knows what Mill has done. He pitches
    the movie we have just seen It's a Hollywood
    story, Griff. A real thriller. It's about a
    shitbag producer, studio exec, who murders a
    writer he thinks is harassing him. The problem is
    he kills the wrong writer. Now he's got to deal
    with blackmail as well as the cops. But heres
    the switch the son of a bitch, he gets away with

The Ending of The Player
  • But the villainous writer-blackmailer dubs
    Griffin Mill's getting away with murder a happy
  • ? This definition offers an ironic conclusion to
    the films satire of Hollywood convention
  • the bad are rewarded and the good punished
  • reversal of the original, intended conclusion of
    Habeas Corpus
  • there an innocent woman goes to the gas
    chamber here a murderer goes free and prospers.
    The revised "Habeas Corpus
  • The Player share the swelling, feel-good ethos of
    the Hollywood ending.
  • Altman underscores the connection by having the
    framing film end with the same line as the framed
    film Traffic was a bitch.

The Ending of The Player
  • self-conscious use of the unjust happy ending,
    right on the heels of the just but corny happy
    ending of "Habeas Corpus,"
  • ultimately implicates the audience
  • If the audience freed Julia Roberts in "Habeas
    Corpus", then we have also provided murderer
    Griffin Mill his getting away

  • Altman, Robert (1997). Director's Commentary on
    DVD. Ed. By Doug Jacobson. Fine Line.
  • Altman, Robert (1992). The movie you saw is the
    movie we're going to make, Interview by Gavin
    Smith and Richard T. Jameson. Film Comment 28
    (3), pp. 20-30.
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