One of American cinema’s most incorrigible mavericks reflects on a brilliant career. Robert Altman served a long apprenticeship in movie-making before his great breakthrough, the Korean War comedy M*A*S*H (1969). It became a huge hit and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but also established Altman’s inimitable use of sound and image, and his gift for handling a repertory company of actors. The 1970s then became Altman’s decade, with a string of masterpieces: McCabe and Mrs Miller, The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, Nashville…In the 1980s Altman turned to adaptation of theatre plays, but he was restored to prominence in 1992 with The Player, an acerbic take on Hollywood. Short Cuts, an inspired adaptation of Raymond Carver, and the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, underscored his comeback. Now he recalls the highs and lows of his career trajectory to David Thompson in this definitive interview book, part of Faber’s widely acclaimed Directors on Directors series. “Hearing in his own words in Altman on Altman just how much of his films occur spontaneously, as a result of last-minute decisions on set, is fascinating…For film lovers, this is just about indispensable.

After graduating from the University of Cambridge, David Thompson became involved in film distribution and exhibition, and then became an editor of film programs for the BBC. He produced and directed a number of documentaries about artists, including films about film directors like Jean Renoir, Quentin Tarantino, Miloš Forman, Paul Verhoeven and Robert Altman. He also edited film programs at the National Film Centre, worked as a freelance journalist, was co-editor of the book Scorsese on Scorsese, and the author of the British Film Institute book on The Last Tango in Paris.