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Rattlesnake in a Cooler (1982)

A one act play about a young doctor who ditch his safe middle-class existence to become a cowboy out West. His cowboy-fantasy eventually breaks down.

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A one act play about a young doctor who ditch his safe middle-class existence to become a cowboy out West. His cowboy-fantasy eventually breaks down.

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Interesting filming of a play by Altman
20 August 2010 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Well written, 60 minute, one act play, with a flat out terrific performance by Leo Burmester. A man tells the story of how he ended up where he is but exactly where that is isn't clear until the twist ending. Works like a good, satisfying short story. Cool use of music.

Altman filmed it for TV shortly after it ran off-Broadway in New York in 1981 (I believe) , where I first saw it. It stuck with me. I recently managed to track down a (very rough) video copy, and found I enjoyed it again almost 30 years later, although it didn't have quite the kick the live show had. Not sure if that's my aging, or knowing where the play was going, or something in the way Altman filmed it, or just losing the immediacy of an hour long monologue, originally performed right to the audience. I suspect it was the last.

Hard to believe this has never been released on DVD, since there's enough Altman fans out there to jump on it.


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