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Brewster McCloud (Remastered Edition)

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Brewster McCloud (But Cort) lives deep within the cavernous underground of the Houston Astrodome, but his dreams rise much higher.
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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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, William Windom, Shelley Duvall
  • Writers: Doran William Cannon
  • Format: Color, Digital Sound, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003XTOBU0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brewster McCloud (Remastered Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Welch on March 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is an oddly touching film despite its ostensibly disjointed plot, which is replete with a send-up of the coldest of the "cool" Steve McQueen personas (in "Bullett"), plus a teasing parody of Altman's own "M*A*S*H" sequence in which Sally Kellerman is humiliated in the shower. (This time she is revealed bathing in a public fountain!) The film posits a definite yearning for innocence and escape from the gross cruelties and disappointments of the Vietnam War era through the young Brewster McCloud's attempt to fly as a bird -- of sorts. However, he can only do this if he maintains his own sexual innocence (a very traditional religious concept, by the way), and he doesn't, of course, and so is betrayed by a callow (and callous) "Eve" -- portrayed by one of Altman's favorite performers, Shelley Duvall, in her debut.
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....
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Format: VHS Tape
Robert Altman made Brewster McCloud around the same time as his acclaimed MASH was released, but for some reason this has been forgotten over time. Revealing any of the story would be useless because the film is so utterly absurd it wouldn't make sense. The comedy ranges from bird poop on dead bodies to a supporting character who's a direct spoof of Steve McQueen's 'Bullitt.' Weird, silly, oddly sexual, and hilarious. Not for all tastes, but worth a look if you're up for something very, very different. A DVD release would be terrific, especially if Altman gave a commentary.

*** out of ****
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
(Caution spoilers ahead)

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.
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Format: VHS Tape
BREWSTER MCCLOUD concerns a young man (Bud Cort; he was Harold, in HAROLD AND MAUDE) who lives in a room inside the Houston Astrodome, and dreams of flight. He spends his time photographing birds and designing wings, in the hopes that he can take to the air as a bird does.
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.
ken32
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