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3 Women (The Criterion Collection) (1977)

Shelley Duvall , Sissy Spacek , Robert Altman  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier, Ruth Nelson
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Robert Altman, Patricia Resnick
  • Producers: Robert Altman, Robert Eggenweiler, Scott Bushnell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GH5TW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,232 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "3 Women (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New high-defination transfer with restored sound and image
  • Audio commentary by director Robert Altman
  • Stills gallery of rare production and publicity photos
  • Original trailers and TV spots

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In a dusty, under-populated California resort town, Pinky Rose (Sissy Spacek), a naive and impressionable Southern waif begins her life as a nursing home attendant. There, Pinky finds her role model in fellow nurse "Thoroughly Modern" Millie Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall), a misguided would-be sophisticate and hopeless devotee of Cosmopolitan and Woman's Day magazines. When Millie accepts Pinky into her home at the Purple Sage singles' complex, Pinky's hero-worship evolves into something far stranger and more sinister than either could have anticipated. Featuring brilliant performances from Spacek and Duvall, Robert Altman's dreamlike masterpiece, 3 Women, careens from the humorous to the chilling to the surreal, resulting in one of the most unusual and compelling films of the 1970s.

"The cinema," Orson Welles famously noted, "is a ribbon of dream." 3 Women is one of few feature films on record as having taken form in a dream. The dreamer was Robert Altman, and although all his best work has an oneiric quality--the floaty zooms, the eerie pastels bleeding into one another, the slip and slide of characters' trajectories overlapping in the fluid accumulation of what passes for narrative--this last masterpiece in his amazing seven-year run of 1970s masterpieces is only more so. Shelly Duvall, that most unorthodox of Altman creatures, locks in the tone with her eerie portrayal of Millie Lammoreaux, a Texan hoyden whose nonstop prattle turns life into a stream-of-consciousness reverie even as most of the people in her vicinity studiously ignore her. Her primacy is worshiped, then emulated by a strange, certifiably dysfunctional childwoman named Pinky Rose (Sissy Spacek) who comes to work in the same old-age home as Millie, moves in with her, and progressively usurps her lifestyle and finally her identity. The third woman, Willie (the late Janice Rule), is a pregnant artist who paints reptilian humanoid figures on the floors of swimming pools. Willie's husband (Robert Fortier), a strutting gun nut who once had a bit part on TV's Wyatt Earp ("He knows Hugh O'Brian"), is just about the only male character of consequence in the film. This macho man gets his--but what "his" may be is only one of the movie's beguiling mysteries. It's only appropriate that the cameraman, Chuck Rosher, should be the son of the man who photographed F.W. Murnau's Sunrise. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek ROCK!!! May 11, 2004
By Joe
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first encounterd '3 Women' while flipping through the cable channels on a lazy summer day in 1997. I tuned into the movie right at the scene where Sissy Spacek was screaming at Shelley Duvall from a hospital bed, "DON'T CALL ME PINKY -- GET OUT OF HERE!" It was from this moment on that I became fascinated with Robert Altman's dreamlike masterpiece, '3 Women.' I made sure to tape it during a repeat screening, and for years hoped that it would make it to DVD, for it was never even released on VHS! So when I heard about Criterion giving it the deluxe treatment, I was very excited.
'3 Women' is not a conventional film by any means. Every person I invite over to watch it, either loathes it or is so utterly puzzled that they need to have a stiff drink afterwards. It is not a film that all audiences will appreciate. However, those with an interest in unusual characters or artsy cinema should find it a rewarding experience, especially with repeated viewings. It's not so much a matter the film being ahead of it's time -- '3 Women' is in a timespace all of it's own!
The strongest attraction of '3 Women' for me, is the remarkable performances by Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Duvall brings a sense of pathos and false reassurance to Millie. Can't we all think of some Millie-types who we know that try so hard to fit in with society but just fail miserably? Spacek, on the other hand, gives Pinky an other-worldliness that at times borders on a personality disorder right out of the DSM-IV manual.
Like '2001: A Space Odyssey,' '3 Women' leaves several mysteries unanswered and leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks. For instance, why was Pinky was warned about the twins early on in the film? Why did Pinky give Ms. Bunwell Millie's social security number instead of her own?
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Cinematic Masterpiece September 4, 2003
Dreamlike. Hypnotic. Surreal. Creepy. Yes, Robert Altman's Three Women is all of those things. It's also a true cinematic masterpiece. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek give two of the best performances ever put on film as Millie and Pinky, two assistants at a convalescent home in Desert Springs, California. Who is the most pathetic? Millie, who fancies herself a hip social butterfly when, in reality, she is either ignored by or made fun of by those she considers her confidants and admirers? Or Pinky, the childlike woman who idolizes her? It's a toss up, but these two women become roommates in a swinging singles apartment complex(The Purple Sage)and it isn't long before things start getting really weird. Shelley Duvall's performance here is mesmerizing in it's detail. In improvised monologues she rambles on and on about her (non-existant) beaus, her fab recipe for Chocolate Pudding Tarts, and her chance at becoming the new Brett Girl! It's hysterical! Sissy Spacek is just as hilarious in her wide eyed infatuation with Millie. But if you're thinking this movie is a comedy you are dead wrong. After a bump on the head during an attempted suicide, Pinky begins to think she IS Millie. Is she? Observing at a distance is Willie, the third woman, the pregnant wife of a former cowboy who paints bizarre portraits of a rape and murder among reptilian aliens. Once this theft of personality gets underway, the movie really starts to sink it's hooks in you. Based on a dream, writer/producer/director Altman has created a visually stunning (three-wheelers racing across the desert), provacotive, enthralling character study of three fascinating people. Forget the ambiguous ending--the real question is why hasn't this movie ever been released on video or dvd? I taped it off cable almost 15 years ago and wouldn't sell my copy for anything. For any serious Altman fan--this film is a must own.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Women - It DOES make sense September 1, 2010
After watching the film a few times and enjoying the strangeness and ambiguity, it finally clicked as to why I enjoy the film so much. It's about something quite universal and offers a fresh insight into something that is an integral part of our culture: Motherhood.

If you haven't seen the film, stop reading. If you've seen it, bear with me. Many people have talked about the 'personality swap' that takes place between Pinky and Millie. That never rang true to me. They certainly don't swap personalities, although Pinky exhibits a new personality after she jumps into the pool.

This film is simply about what a mother experiences as her daughter grows into a woman. And so many details and moments in the film say volumes about the painful realizations and feelings that many mothers go through, feelings that have never been dramatized as creatively as Altman has done here. For this reason alone, this film is a gift.

Millie is introduced as a bit directionless, always trying to fit in, but never garnering the attention, respect or love she longs for. He coworkers ignore her rants, her neighbors dismiss her, and her former roommate blows her off. But along comes Pinky, strangely childlike considering her apparent age. She is simply the daughter that enters this lonely woman's life. Not literally, but none-the-less, the relationship proceeds this way. Millie is suddenly the center of her new daughter's universe. We see Millie blush at the attention and adoration she has never received. Like any mother, Millie is constantly guiding and teaching Pinky the proper protocol for every situation - from what to wear, daily routine, entertaining guests--and Pinky absorbs it like a sponge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky film about 3 very different women who end up ...
Quirky film about 3 very different women who end up becoming crutches for each other.The art and or paintings that run through film is very interesting
Published 9 days ago by Fred F.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Altman's Best
Three Women is a very unusual and hypnotic and haunting movie experience. For many years it was unavailable on video or dvd but thank god it is now available. Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Main
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film
Published 2 months ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Robert N McWaters
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre Entertainment
I read this was based on a dream by Altman. This was really an odd film. Spacek is terrific as is Duvall. Watch it at least twice.
Published 9 months ago by marvin steres
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Even with Odd
Surely one of Robert Altman's stranger films, but oddly engaging and ultimately worthwhile. Sissy Spacek plays an odd sort of innocent who appears in a desert backwater somewhere... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Michael Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream Schmeam - Its A Travelogue
There are a few films that I like to watch on a cold gray cloudy windy Sunday afternoon in November, and this is one of them. It ranks right up there with "The Last Picture Show. Read more
Published 12 months ago by OlderWiserReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
THis is a classic Altman film. I recommend it highty to all his fans. The image of the pregnant woman painting fantastical scenes at the bottom of a dry swimming pool has stuck... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lisa Pedersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and strange
One of my favorite movies that I viewed at a theatre showing art house films years ago, this film still puzzles me. Read more
Published 15 months ago by C. Buras
5.0 out of 5 stars An odd movie
I like it because it is one of the strangest movies you will ever see. Although it was serious, I laughed at so much of it, especially the Shelly Duvall character. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Skip Kight
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