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Projects: 1980s

The Aria series (0.1 linear foot) contains material from the 1987 film Aria. This film consisted of ten segments each by a different director with each one taking inspiration from a different opera. Altman's segment features the piece "Lieu désolé" from the opera "Les Boréades" by Jean-Philippe Rameau.  It is sung by Jennifer Smith, Ane-Marie Rodde, and Philip Langride and stars Julie Hagerty, Geneviève Page, Sandrine Dumas, and Chris Campion. Other segments of this film are directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Charles Sturridge, Nicolas Roeg, Julien Temple, Bruce Beresford, Franc Roddam, Ken Russell, Derek Jarman, and Bill Bryden.  The film was produced by Dan Boyed.

The legal material and the business and financial records in this series contain information regarding Boyds Co. Film Production Limited which provided editing services for the film. The articles and reviews sub-series contain material regarding both on Altman's segment of the film and the entire production from both domestic and international publications.  Awards, events, and festivals sub-series contain materials from the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.  Included is a program for the film which includes stills of Altman's segment photographed by one of Altman's sons, Robert Reed Altman.

The Basements series (5.25 linear feet) consists of materials from two short films produced and directed by Robert Altman based on stage productions written by Harold Pinter. The Dumb Waiter features John Travolta and Tom Conti and The Room features Linda Hunt, Annie Lennox, Julian Sands, David Hemblen, Abbott Anderson, and Donald Pleasance.

Both sections of the film were shot in Montreal in 1986. These films were produced by ABC to be two made for TV specials and aired separately. The two films were then shown as one feature film named Basements at the 1987 Montreal Film Festival.

The legal material includes actor agreements, copyright information, and insurance forms.  Additionally, the legal materials include correspondence from Pinter regarding a request for extended distribution rights, and he expresses his disappointment in the two films.

Business and financial is the largest section of this series and contains items such as expense reports and residual statements as well as related correspondence. This collection includes several different versions of the script including a continuity script and a published version of the original play. Production and post-production includes daily production reports and detailed information on the construction of the set for The Dumb Waiter. The articles and reviews section contains domestic reviews of the version aired on ABC and Canadian reviews of the version presented in Montreal.

Included in the publicity and distribution section of the collection is a viewer guide. ABC issued this as part of the publicity for The Dumb Waiter to encourage the film to be used in classrooms and libraries as a teaching aid. Also in this section is correspondence regarding requests to use clips of John Travolta in specials for the MTV and Bravo networks.

Photographic materials include photographs taken by Robert Reed Altman and Piroska Mihalka.

Notes on the arrangement of Basements:

While both projects were filmed separately, they were financed as one project; the original order of the legal, and business and financial materials as well as much of the production materials reflect the fact that the two projects were treated as nearly one continuous project. Unless otherwise noted, materials from both projects are filed together.

The Beyond Therapy series (2 linear feet with 1 oversized box) consists of material from the1987 film directed by Robert Altman, written by Altman and Christopher Durang and based on Durang's 1982 play. The film stars Julie Hagerty, Jeff Goldblum, Glenda Jackson, Tom Conti, and Christopher Guest. It was filmed in Paris, France.

The legal materials consist of agreements and correspondence between Sand Script Productions, New World Pictures, Film Finances Limited, WOR Radio, and Christopher Durang. The correspondence with Durang includes his reactions to Altman's edits of the script.

There is extensive documentation of the financial aspects of this film including production budget, general ledger, account statements, paid bills, and stock certificates.

The scripts sub-series include an original musical score written by Gabriel Yared. 

The collection includes advertisements for the movie in magazines and newspapers.  In the advertisement folder, there is a letter of complaint written by Altman to New World Pictures concerning its failure to communicate with Altman prior to releasing advertisements of the film.  Publicity stills, on-the-set images and the cast on break from filming in Paris are included in the photographs sub-series.

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial series (1 linear foot) consists of materials from the 1988 TV film directed by Robert Altman, and written by Herman Wouk, based on Wouk's play. The film features the actors Eric Bogosian, Jeff Daniels, Brad Davis, Peter Gallagher, and Michael Murphy.

The legal materials consist of agreements and correspondence between the William Morris Agency, Malprod Inc., and the Harry Fox Agency. The correspondence with Malprod Inc. details a dispute over production cost penalties and alleged fraudulent misuse of funds by Malprod Inc.

The production materials consist of cast and crew contact lists, title credits and original hand-drawn cartoons by one of the crew members, Michael J. Martin. Additionally, included is correspondence with the U.S. Department of Defense and Navy granting permission to film the Seattle Navy Band.

The Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean series (2.8 linear feet and 1 oversized box) consists of materials from the 1982 Broadway production of Ed Graczyk's play directed by Robert Altman, and the 1982 film also directed by Altman. The film features Kathy Baker, Sandy Dennis, Kathy Bates, and Cher.

The legal materials, from the law offices of Jerome Walsh, contain production and financial agreements relating to the stage production as well as the film.

The stage sub-series correspondence contains telegrams sent in support of Altman on opening night, in addition to handwritten notes from Bates and additional members of the company. The production materials include a mailgram sent by Altman to announce the closing of the production. The photographs include images of the stage rehearsal, as well as production photographs by Jean Pagliuso.

The film sub-series include business and financial records, consisting of theatre contracts detailing the cities when and where the film played, as well as box office totals. Photographs from the film include slides documenting the building of the set.

The Fool for Love series (1 linear foot) consists of material from the 1985 film directed by Robert Altman. The screenplay, based on the play of the same name,  was written by Sam Shepard, who was also cast in the role of Eddie. The film also features the actors Kim Basinger, Harry Dean Stanton, and Randy Quaid.

A letter from Sam Shepard proposing that Altman direct a movie version of Fool for Love is included in the Correspondence sub-series. The legal material includes agreements with Sam Shepard regarding the rights to the play and his role as an actor in the production. There are also agreements and correspondence regarding a decision to reduce the size of the actor's names in the credits. The business and financial material includes several different versions of the budget for this film as well as profit participation reports from 1987 through 1992. The legal materials include documents from the offices of Jerome Walsh.

There are many copies of the script included in this series including first through fourth drafts, a shooting script, and "as shot."  Scotty Bushnell's and Allen Nicholl's personal copies of the script are also included.

The production and post-production sub-series includes lists of the cast and crew, a shooting schedule, and daily production reports. Two copies of the score are included in the music and scores subseries, one of which is inscribed by composer George Burt to Altman.  Press kits are available in the publicity and distribution sub-series for both the film and for the Cannon Group production company. The awards, events, and festivals sub-series contains materials regarding the films inclusion in the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

Photographic materials from this series include images taken on the set, stills, publicity stills, contact sheets, negatives, transparencies, slides, and a small segment of film from the credits of the film.  Photographers on this project include Robert Reed Altman, DK Hall, T. Huseby, Ed Klamn, and P. Plossu. Additional photographic materials are available in the production and post-production and publicity and distribution sub-series. This includes actor's headshots, images from the stage production, and a press kit with publicity photographs.

The HealtH series (2.5 linear feet) consists of material from the 1980 film directed by Robert Altman, from a script by Altman, Frank Barhydt, and Paul Dooley. The film features the actors Carol Burnett, Dick Cavett, Lauren Bacall, Paul Dooley, Glenda Jackson, Henry Gibson, Robert Fortier, and Allan Nicholls. The scripts include correspondence from Dooley and Burnett regarding various versions of the script. Publicity and distribution include materials from the short publicity film, "Go to Health." Photographs of the filming of this short film are included in the oversized contact sheets. Publicity and distribution include articles regarding 20th Century-Fox's delayed release of the film, as well as postcards created by artist Jean Pagliuso.

The Images series (approximately 1 linear foot and 1 oversized box) consists of materials from the 1972 film written and directed by Robert Altman. The film features the actors Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais, and Cathryn Harrison.

Correspondence includes a series of letters composed by Auberjonois to Altman to clarify the credit dispute regarding advertisements for the film, as well as a series of letters from author Ray Loynd, and Marianne Dolan, who directed a documentary on the production of the film. Correspondence also includes three thank-you notes written by Altman to Roger Watts, Jean Sacha and Arthur Ford.

The series includes material from the legal offices of Jerome Walsh. The music sub-series include film composer John Williams' hand-written score. Portions of Ms. York' children's story, In Search of Unicorns, which Altman incorporated into the film, are included in the production and post-production materials, as well as the unproduced screenplay she completed in 1993.

The Laundromat series (1 linear foot) consists of materials from the 1985 Home Box Office (HBO) television film directed by Robert Altman. The screenplay was adapted from the first act of the play Third and Oak: the Laundromat, written by Marsha Norman. The film features the actors Carol Burnett, Amy Madigan, and Michael Wright.

The legal documents include a director's agreement, agreements between Secret Castle and Frog Films, and various license agreements. Additional legal materials include sheet music and lyrics by Alberta Hunter. Correspondence detailing Hunter's song submissions for Academy Award consideration in 1979 (ultimately rejected by the Academy) is included in the legal materials as well. Also included was a potential trademark infringement regarding the product name "Laundromat."

The O.C. and Stiggs series (1 linear foot) consists of materials from the 1985 film produced and directed by Robert Altman, it was written by Donald Cantrell and Ted Mann. The film features the actors Daniel Jenkins, Neil Barry, Jane Curtin, Ray Walston, Cynthia Nixon, Jon Cryer, Dennis Hopper, Paul Dooley, and Martin Mull.

The legal materials contain a marketing proposal detailing how the film would potentially be marketed (the film received a delayed release of several years), and includes the advertising budget for several test cities. The publications sub-series contains the source material on which the film was based, a National Lampoon special issue, "The Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs," written by Tod Carroll and Ted Mann, who also co-authored the script.

The Popeye series (8 linear feet and 1 oversized box) consists of materials from the 1980 film directed by Robert Altman and produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions. The screenplay was written by Jules Feiffer and was adapted from the comic strip created by E.C. Segar. The actors in the film include Robin Williams, Shelly Duvall, Paul Dooley, Linda Hunt, Donald Moffat, Paul L. Smith and Ray Walston.

The legal sub-series contain documents regarding a tax dispute between the State of California and Lion's Gate Films, Inc. This sub-series also contains a variety of agreements and documentation regarding audits of Paramount Pictures and Lion's Gate. Other legal material includes documents from the office of Jerome Walsh. The series includes four versions of the script, including a first draft and a shooting script, and the production sub-series includes several volumes of the Falconette Gazette, a newsletter created by actress Shelly Duvall, which was distributed to cast and crew during production. 

All of the original songs in the film were written by Harry Nilsson and the music and scores sub-series contain both song lyrics and sheet music. The publicity and distribution sub-series contain material relating to Altman's grandson Wesley Hurt, who played Swee'pea, as well as domestic and international press kits. Media opinions about the production of Popeye as well as reactions to the film can be found in the articles and reviews sub-series.

Photographs make up the largest sub-series in the collection with over 2,100 items. The photographs span the entire production of the film, and include subject matter such as the construction of the set, rehearsals and recording sessions, which feature images of Harry Nilsson and the film's music arranger, Van Dyke Parks. Additionally, several photographs include the film's producer, Robert Evans. The photographs were taken by Paul Ronald and Melinda Wiekman, and the hand-tinted photographs were created by Jean Pagliuso.

The Rake's Progress series (0.4 linear feet) consists of materials from the 1982 opera directed by Robert Altman at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and later revived with the same sets and costumes in 1986 at the Opera de Lille in Lille, France.    

The University of Michigan sub-series include correspondence from Paul C. Boylan, Dean of the School of Music, and Frank Beaver, professor at the School of Communications. The photographs sub-series contain images of rehearsals and of the production.

The France sub-series legal materials include agreements between the Opera de Lille, Altman and the University of Michigan. Production materials include photographs of the costumes used, and models of the set. Miscellaneous includes color photocopies of prints by Isi Veleris, the artist who took photographs of the costumes.

The Secret Honor series (3.5 linear feet and 1 oversize box) consists of materials related to the stage production and film based on the play by Donald Freed and Arthur Stone. The play, starring Philip Baker Hall, was staged in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. The film was directed by Robert Altman and produced by Sandcastle 5, in cooperation with The University of Michigan and the Los Angeles Actors Theatre.

The materials include financial records related to the stage production and film, as well as production budgets, box office reports, theatre contracts, partnership documents, reports related to film distribution and film festivals, and correspondence. Accompanying these materials are the papers of Jerome Walsh, legal counsel to Robert Altman for the Secret Honor project. Included are documents related to the legal action against Altman for alleged unauthorized use of copyrighted materials belonging to James Beasley and Terry Marder.

Within the Stage Production sub-series, programs, reviews, publicity photographs, publicity releases, and reviews of the stage productions can be found. Within the Film sub-series there are subtitles, mixing cue sheets, scripts, and music, including a score inscribed by the composer, George Burt. Secondary sources related to the film include a Master's thesis, "The Iconography of Robert Altman's Secret Honor: Identification and the Struggle for Power," by Ilsa Bick and a segment of the book "Nixon on Stage and Screen," written by Thomas Monsell.

The Streamers series (3.4 linear feet) consists of materials from the 1983 film directed by Robert Altman from the play by David Rabe, featuring Mathew Modine, Michael Wright, Michael Lichtenstein, Guy Boyd, George Dzundza, and David Allan Grier.

The legal subseries include correspondence relating to the agreements for the film. There were two lawsuits connected to the film. One involved Nick Mileti and the distribution of the film.  The other involved Robert Geisler and the financing for the production. Both of these lawsuits are found in the materials from the law offices of Jerome Walsh.

There are extensive business and financial materials in this series. There is the budget, payroll, cancelled checks, and the ledger. This subseries also includes the releases for the extras and the crew.

There are two versions of the script: Rabe's original and the one shot by Altman. There is also an Italian translation.

The collection includes the resumes and headshots for the actors as well as their measurements and other information.  It also includes the call sheets for the filming.

There are 5 folders of domestic articles and reviews, and eight folders from abroad.  The film was well-represented at film festivals, and the collection includes materials from Venice, Cannes, Toronto, New York, Chicago, and Seattle. There are also materials related to the Academy Awards campaign.

The Tanner '88 series (10 linear feet) consists of material from the 1988 HBO (Home Box Office) television series directed and co-produced by Robert Altman and written by Garry Trudeau. The series features the actors Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Cynthia Nixon, Matt Malloy, and Ilana Levine.

The legal materials consist of material from the law office of Jerome Walsh, in addition to agreements for the filming of the "interstitials" for the re-release of Tanner '88 by the Sundance Channel, in 2004; reviews of this re-broadcast are included in the articles and review subseries, and a script in the script sub-series. The production and post-production sub-series includes research used in preparation for filming, and the negative for the Doug Marlette political cartoon featuring the character Tanner, used for a prop version of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper.

The Two by South series consists of materials from two, one-act plays written by Frank South and directed by Robert Altman. Precious Blood features the actors Guy Boyd and Alfre Woodard, and Rattlesnake in a Cooler stars Leo Burmester and Danny Darst. The plays were performed in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Actors Theater before moving to New York to run off-Broadway at the St. Clement's Theater. The New York production was filmed for ABC ARTS Network. They were broadcast on this network on several occasions both separately and together starting in 1982.

The series contains correspondence including many cards and telegrams from the New York premier. The legal material consists of materials from the law offices of Jerome Walsh, and assorted correspondence and contracts related to both the stage and film versions of the plays. Additionally there are documents pertaining to an agreement reached through arbitration regarding a contract disagreement with the Actors Equity Association related to the filming of the play. The oversized box contains several folders of large photographs from the play and a poster from the St. Clement's production.  Additionally this collection contains an original Al Herschfeld caricature of Leo Burmester, inscribed by Burmester, given to Altman.