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Modern Football (1951)

| Documentary, Short, Sport

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The first film directed by Robert Altman. See more »

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Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

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For Altman Fans Only
24 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

Modern Football (1951)

** (out of 4)

Robert Altman's first film was this 26-minute short, which has a football coach explaining how to play the sport. This is basically an educational short where the viewer learns about the various rules of the sport as the narrator explains them while we see reenactments. MODERN FOOTBALL got a lot of media attention when it was bought at a Kansas City flee market nearly fifty-years after it was last seen. The discover of any lost film is always a great thing but sadly the film itself really isn't all that memorable. In fact, if this thing wasn't directed by Altman then there really wouldn't be much to talk about. I've read several reviews where people thought Altman's touch was all over this and I've read how you can see certain techniques here that would appear in later films. I personally didn't see any of this with the brief exception of characters being introduced and eventually coming together. For the most part I found this short to be rather boring but perhaps this was mainly due to me already knowing the rules of football. At such a long running time I just didn't think it was entertaining enough to really work so perhaps those unfamiliar with the sport might get more out of it. It's certainly well shot and edited so the director at least showed he could do this type of thing.


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