A parody and satire of the U.S. political scene of the time, HealtH is set at a health food convention at a Florida luxury hotel, where a powerful political organization is deciding on a new president.
Brewster is an owlish, intellectual boy who lives in a fallout shelter of the Houston Astrodome. He has a dream: to take flight within the confines of the stadium. Brewster tells those he trusts of his dream, but displays a unique way of treating others who do not fit within his plans. When the fateful day arrives, and he enters the dome with his fanciful construction of bird wings, Brewster is surrounded by the police. Will he be caught before he attempts to fly?Written by
Rick Gregory <email@example.com>
The opening credits are done twice, followed by the MGM lion opening his mouth to Auberjonois' voice saying, "I forgot the opening line". The opening credits are superimposed over Daphne Heap (Margaret Hamilton) rehearsing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with a marching band in the Astrodome. She stops the song and accuses the band of being on the wrong key. The band begins again, and the credits also start over, with the same titles repeated with the "better" version of the song. One of the opening credits reads: "Title song by Francis Scott Key" See more »
Bud Cort plays Brewster McCloud. He's a very strange young man who lives in the Houston Astrodome and is building a huge set of wings so he can fly. The movie is about him and his VERY odd assortment of friends and family. And how about the killer running around Houston strangling people and leaving bird droppings on them?
As you can see this is a very strange film. It's unlike anything director Robert Altman has ever done. The film isn't perfect--it's too long, the weirdness wears you down at times, some of the humor is real sick and there are characters that are just disgusting (Stacy Keach) or too flat out weird, even for this movie (Jennifer Salt)! And what's with the circus ending (entertaining as it is)? Still I love this film.
The story rambles all over the place but I was able to keep track of it. Altman packs the movie with plenty of bird imagery and references. He also pays homage to other films also--most notably "The Wizard of Oz" (right up to having Margaret Hamilton in the cast and check out how Salt is dressed at times). This really doesn't pull together in any way but it IS fascinating to watch. Also the cast is great--with one exception--Michael Murphy. He's miscast and looks miserable. But everybody else is perfect. Particular standouts are Cort (very good in a difficult role), Shelley Duvall (who usually annoys me to no end) and Sally Kirkland (looking absolutely stunning). Also there's a very cute injoke--there's a quick shot of the poster for "MASH" in Duvall's apartment!
This film was overshadowed by Altman's "MASH" in 1970. Also, the studio hated it and threw it away. Now, however, it is rightfully considered one of the best films of its decade. I highly recommend this--but not for everybody. If you like a linear plot and easily defined characters, stay away.
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