That Cold Day in the Park
That Cold Day in the Park

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- 70/100 based on 984 votes
  • Released: 1969
  • Runtime: 113 mins
  • Director: Robert Altman
  • Studio: Commonwealth United Entertainment
  • Genres: Drama

A rich but lonely woman, Frances Austen, one day invites a boy from a nearby park to her apartment and offers to let him live there.... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

A rich but lonely woman, Frances Austen, one day invites a boy from a nearby park to her apartment and offers to let him live there.

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Movie Reviews

Little White Lies - 9/10 by Anton Bitel the psychodrama that emerges shows a woman lost in the cracks between the staid bourgeois respectability of her mother's generation, and the new freedoms of the '60s.
The Skinny - 6/10 by Tom Grieve Full of the drifting long shots, slow zooms, and overlapping dialogue that would help to characterise Altman's later masterpieces.
Chicago Reader - 6/10 by Jonathan Rosenbaum Robert Altman's inauspicious first theatrical feature -- recognizably his work, meandering zooms and all, but the material is somewhat pretentious and hackneyed.
Chicago Sun-Times - 4/10 by Roger Ebert The plot is too improbable to be taken seriously, and yet director Robert Altman apparently does take it seriously.
New York Times - 2/10 by Howard Thompson It's a cold, ugly and meandering business.
User Review - 8/10 by Jesse L (VHS) (First Viewing, 9th Altman film) At first I thought this was being set up as an unconventional romance story, until it hurtles itself into unexpected directions. Sandy Dennis gives a magnificent performance as an aging spinster too old to be attractive, and yet too young to be condemned to a life revolving around lawn bowling with her now-deceased mother's elderly friends. To counteract the emptiness of her life and the lonliness that's eating her away, she invites a teenage boy sitting in the rain in the park outside her house. She dotes on him, providing him with a hot bath, food, a place to sleep, even a new pair of clothes... and he never says a word, instead of peering at her with unblinking eyes. The silence of her new friend causes her to use him as a sounding board- at first opening up about her isolation, and quickly escalating until she is venting repressed sexual frustrations. And by this time her behavoir has begun to border on the obsessive... The last film Robert Altman made before hitting it big with [b]M*A*S*H[/b], and it lacks the mulitude of characters that would mark Altman's style from [b]M*A*S*H[/b] on. Dennis is forced to carry the entire film (as Michael Burns (the boy) essentially plays a cipher), and she does so magnificently. Even at this early date, Altman's direction is superbly restrained, and the screenplay by Gillian Freeman is tightly constructed. But as Pauline Kael writes in her review of the film, [b]That Cold Day in the Park[/b] has a "cold brilliance," but it is a film you can hardly wait end. By the time it reaches its haunting conclusion, the clausterphobia has become nearly unbearable. This is sadistic cinema at its best.
User Review - 4/10 by Steve S ***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
User Review - 4/10 by Anna B It's like watching a toddler taking his first few tentative steps. "That Cold Day in the Park" is glacial in its pacing, icy and sterile like a surgical theater. We rarely leave Sandy Dennis' upper class apartment, and soon we feel claustrophobic like her selectively mute houseguest. The ending is spellbinding, unless you've already fallen asleep. Altman would apparently become a master filmmaker in the short timespan between this low-key effort and the epochal "M*A*S*H"; perhaps a healthy streak of anarchic humor was just what he needed to hit the ground running.

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