Startlingly successful translation from one medium to another, with Altman turning the first of his theatrical adaptations into a cinematic tour de force. A group of women, members of a James Dean fan club, reunite in '75 to pay tribute to the death, 20 years earlier, of their hero while shooting Giant in the Texan desert nearby. Ed Graczyk's play itself is a humdrum if highly enjoyable affair, gradually proceeding from its comic observations about the way the women aren't quite friends any more to a more serious consideration of shattered dreams and saddened lives, all exposed in a gripping if familiar series of intimate revelations. But beyond the excellent performances and Altman's evident sympathy for his garrulous gathering of beautiful losers, what marks the film is the way he uses both the camera and a wall mirror (which periodically reflects us back to '55) to explore and open up his single dime-store set and the cracks in the masks of his deluded/deluding characters. Stunning stuff.
Cast and crew
Marta Heflin Mark Patton Kathy Bates Cher Sudie Bond Karen Black Sandy Dennis