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That Cold Day in the Park

That Cold Day in the Park (1969)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 3

audience

45

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 199

My Rating

Movie Info

A spinster goes to extraordinary lengths to assuage her loneliness in Robert Altman's 1969 drama. Wealthy Frances Austen (Sandy Dennis) conducts herself as if she were older than she actually is, but when she spies a blond youth (Michael Burns) sitting alone in a rain-swept Vancouver park, she takes him to her apartment. Apparently mute, the boy accepts Frances's ministrations, content to have a bed of his own and to listen to her talk, even if he has to come and go through his window after she

R,

Drama

Gillian Freeman

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All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (4)

It's a cold, ugly and meandering business.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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The plot is too improbable to be taken seriously, and yet director Robert Altman apparently does take it seriously.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Robert Altman's inauspicious first theatrical feature -- recognizably his work, meandering zooms and all, but the material is somewhat pretentious and hackneyed.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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A disappointing, implausible film

July 9, 2005
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for That Cold Day in the Park

"That Cold Day in the Park" is historically interesting as one of director Robert Altman's earliest films, but its main virtues are the story and Sandy Dennis' complex performance.

Dennis enters the film in her usual insecure, whiny guise playing Francis, a lonely woman who has aged beyond her years. She has a nice, inherited apartment but mostly knows older people and has few friends. One rain-soaked day, she spots a handsome guy (Michael Burns) shivering on a park bench below her window. After he lingers there for hours, she assumes he is homeless and generously calls him inside for a bath and meal. He turns out to be mute, which only adds to his pitiable traits. She invites him to temporarily stay in her extra room.

Further details shouldn't be revealed, but this initially sweet friendship darkens into a psychological duel in which we wonder whom to side with: Francis, who exploits her new roommate for companionship, or the unnamed lad, who exploits Francis for food and lodging.

"That Cold Day in the Park" has some dull patches, but its climax is worth the wait. Dennis carries about 80% of the film and arguably deserved an Oscar nomination. As for the Altman factor, the primary glimpses of his burgeoning style are a small part for Michael Murphy (who appeared in several later Altman projects) and, more importantly, some incidental experimentation with overlapping dialogue. The most notable example occurs in a gynecologist's waiting room -- which itself might foreshadow 2000's "Dr. T and the Women."
December 30, 2011
Eric Broome

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