3 Women (1977) Poster



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The idiosyncrasies of the character "Millie Lammoreaux" were mostly conceived by Shelley Duvall.
Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966) was a major influence on the project.
Shelley Duvall's skirt getting stuck in the car door was initially accidental. Robert Altman found it amusing and asked her to intentionally do it throughout the rest of the filming.
While shooting the scene where Pinky drinks the beer in one gulp, Sissy Spacek threw up on the first take, but immediately tried again and succeeded on the second take.
Film critic Roger Ebert named the movie his Best Film of 1977.
According to Wikipedia, "For years, the film was not available in home video in any form. This was alleged to be due to music rights; reportedly, the distributors of Altman's films Images (1972), California Split (1974), 3 Women (1977), and HealtH (1980), had not negotiated music rights for home video release of the films, and, due to their relative obscurity, they were never expected to be released".
Director Robert Altman based the film's title, locations, and cast members on a series of dreams he had.
The girls who played the twins were not professional actors. Robert Altman cast them after spotting both of them as waitresses in California.
The murals had to be painted at night under studio lights because the intense desert heat made the paint boil.
Even Altman admitted that he wasn't sure what the ending would be, although he did have a loose theory about it.
Robert Altman had a believer in the head of production at 20th Century Fox, Alan Ladd Jr.. He felt that he could indulge Altman's offbeat projects, while the studio's more commercial films like Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) would make up for any financial loss. Peter Biskind, author of "Easy Riders," reports in his book that Altman and Tommy Thompson were driving to the airport, when Altman said, "Let's stop at 20th. I had a dream last night, I want to sell it to Laddie. Keep the engine running, it'll only take a minute." Altman darted into Ladd's office, made a deal for "3 Women," and was back in the car in time to make his flight.
The film was shot in sequence and on location at a desert resort in Palm Springs. Each night Robert Altman would expand the scenes from his treatment; dialog would be improvised during rehearsals.
The movie opened and closed in a matter of weeks. As it had only cost $1.6 million, there was a minuscule profit for Robert Altman and Alan Ladd Jr., although the studio lost money on the distribution costs.
Sissy Spacek's and her character Pinky's hometown is Quitman, TX. Shelley Duvall's and her character Millie's hometown is Houston, TX.
According to 'Allmovie', "the film was reportedly shot without a full screenplay and inspired by Altman's own dreams".
The film was selected to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1977.
Shelley Duvall won the Best Actress Award for this film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1977. Duvall was also awarded the prize in the equivalent category from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in the same year. Moreover, Sissy Spacek was awarded the Best Supporting Actress accolade for this film from the New York Film Critics Circle in 1977.
The movie featured the offbeat tagline of "1 woman became 2/2 women became 3/3 women became 1".
The Purple Sage Apts was an existing motel, the Sunbeam Inn of Palm Springs, Ca. The ensemble, production team and crew lived there for a couple of months during fall 1976.
When Pinky spills the shrimp cocktail all over herself, originally filmed to scare Millie, she jokingly takes a knife and lays on the floor with it to make it appear as if she was stabbed. This scene was edited out but a segment was used in the dream sequence.
One of five late-1970s films that director Robert Altman made for the 20th Century Fox studio. The movies are HealtH (1980), Quintet (1979), 3 Women (1977), A Wedding (1978) and A Perfect Couple (1979).
Maysie Hoy who played the Chinese woman/spa employee was also an assistant editor on the film.
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Robert Altman received a green light from 20th Century Fox without a finished screenplay - and with Altman's express desire that he make the film without one.
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Once he hatched the idea, Altman's first step was to develop a 50-page treatment with writer Patricia Resnick from his notes.
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One of seven films that actress Shelley Duvall made with director Robert Altman. The films include Popeye (1980), Nashville (1975), 3 Women (1977), Brewster McCloud (1970), Thieves Like Us (1974), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976).
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Shelley Duvall's French dubbing voice was performed by actress Brigitte Fossey. Coincidentally, Fossey later appeared in Robert Altman's Quintet (1979).
The nickname of Mildred Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall) was "Millie" whilst the nickname of Mildred Rose (Sissy Spacek) was "Pinky".
Two of the film's three main characters were called Mildred. They were Mildred Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall) and Mildred Rose (Sissy Spacek).
Around twenty-three years later director Robert Altman would later make an unrelated picture with the similar title of Dr. T and the Women (2000).


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Robert Altman says that the ending is meant to be ambiguous and open to interpretation. However, his personal opinion was that Edgar was buried under the pile of spare tires shown in the final shot of the film.

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