That Cold Day in the Park

Director: Robert Altman
Year Released: 1969
Rating: 3.0

Repressed - but wealthy - spinster Frances (Sandy Dennis), desperate for male affection, 'kidnaps' a 'mute' young man (Michael Burns) she discovers on a bench one rainy day but he sneaks out in the middle of the night (to meet with his sister and her draft-dodging boyfriend), which makes Frances all the more possessive of him. I'm a sucker for this kind of psycho-sexual drama (I also like The Night Porter and The Collector) and Dennis does a wonderful job in the lead, showcasing the mixture of confusion and desire in someone who doesn't know how to relate to people in a healthy way. It's an uncomfortable watch and becomes even more bizarre when she tries to solicit a prostitute for her 'kept man' ... which leads to the inevitable carnage. Though a bit mannered, it's still a notable entry in Altman's early feature-film career - that he followed this up with a black comedy masterpiece, M*A*S*H, shows his versatility.