Brewster McCloud (Remastered Edition)
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He aims to fly. Not in a plane. But with strapped-on wings he's designing - encouraged by a mysterious woman (Sally Kellerman) who may be his guardian angel. But Brewster McCloud, Robert Altman's wild, anarchic cult fave, isn't about dreams as much as it is about the highs and lows of humanity. It's a serial-killer mystery. A frenetic car-chase flick. A crazy circus-finale comedy. Shelley Duvall debuts as the tour guide whose seduction of Brewster may lead to his undoing. Ah, love. The thing that at once shapes and unravels us. The thing that may or may not give us wings.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sally Kellerman, by the way, is a really beautiful, touching "bird-woman," who is Brewster's personal "angel"; Bud Cort is a gentle but naive hero (despite being a mass murderer!), and the film only seems to run along without care for the plot, for it is actually a well-crafted story of a futile attempt to "regain Paradise" by "flying away" from our cruelly competitive and facile culture. It finishes very enigmatically, yet tragically, for it is also a symbolic account of the failure of the 1960s "youth rebellion." Not among the "best" of Altman -- "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" is the better depiction of American decay, and "Nashville" is Altman's quirky yet perceptive study of U. S. politics -- but I can't get it out of my head: it makes me sad and full of yearning myself....
*** out of ****
This remastered edition looks good but strangely does not have captioning - perhaps not that strange because Altman's layered dialog is a nightmare to caption but much is missed by the absence of captioning.
This has been on my list of top ten films since I first saw it 40+ years ago. It withholds at lot from the initial viewing and you discover something new each time you watch it.
"The film has references to other films, Altman's own work, and other places. Altman refers to Bullitt (1969) by including a character named Frank Shaft, who is a detective from San Francisco." The name may have inspired the name of Richard Roundtree's "John Shaft" character, in a more subtle parody from 1971 ("he just took my man Leroy and threw him out the God damn window").
"Homages to The Wizard of Oz (1939) have been noted in the film, as Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, is the music conductor seen during the opening credits. She is seen wearing ruby slippers in the film. Hope (Jennifer Salt) who supplies Brewster with health food, resembles Dorothy, as she wears a distinctive gingham dress, has pigtails and carries a basket. At the end of the film, she is shown in the cast as Dorothy carrying Toto."
Shelley Duvall plays a Raggedy Ann airhead character (without Luna Lovegood's redeeming qualities) and actually appears as a Raggedy Ann clown in the final scene.
"Brewster McCloud" is a film that presents society as circus performers and life as a circus, if you haven't figured that out by the end Altman hits you over the head with it as he goes out with perhaps the best black comedy ending of all time.Read more ›
A second plotline involves a serial killer, a performer of strangulation murders, loose in Houston. The HPD have called in Shaft, a hotshot San Francisco detective, to help solve the case. Each of the victims is found with bird excrement on his face.
Of course, our naive and physically slight Brewster is the killer.
A film of bizarre plot and presumptively a satire, BREWSTER MCCLOUD does not approach the mastery of Robert Altman's other films of the period, particularly MASH and MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER. Occasionally the dialogue is very funny, but too often the director chose to impress the viewer with a skewed sensibility which leaves much to be desired. Inconsistent shots and the lack of a consistent structure probably leaves many viewers reeling.
Similarities to other Altman films abound, but most easily spotted are the terrific ensemble cast, the familiar players from other Altman films, such as Rene Auberjonois, G. Wood, Kellerman, and Duvall, and the use of voice-over throughout the movie. The police radio, in this case, takes the job of the intercom announcer in MASH, and provides a useful way of moving the plot along.
Not quite for Altman completists only, I'd recommend this to all Robert Altman fans, fans of Harold and Maude, and fans of bizarre movies. In a sense this is a black comedy. Not depressing in the least, it represents a rare, brave attempt to make a unique motion picture. While it doesn't work on a number of levels, various strange elements stand out to make BREWSTER MCCLOUD a movie worth seeing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert Altman movies are an acquired taste, and for the most part I haven't cared for them. I do like Brewster however. It's a hard to follow satire but I enjoy it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Daniel Thomas
Ah, I love this movie. First saw it at the drive in what 1971 or so. Seeing it again brings back great memories of friends no longer with us.Published 15 months ago by Izray
The most interesting films feature striking visual images and engaging chemistry among the actors. Plot takes third place - so not to worry. Read morePublished 17 months ago by KHENSE
This is an ODD movie but I've loved it for decades. Just as my VHS version became unplayable, the DVD arrived. If you liked Bud Cort in Harold and Maude, this will not disappoint.Published 17 months ago by FredMcC
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