Combustible Celluloid
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With: Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais, Cathryn Harrison, John Morley
Written by: Robert Altman, Susannah York (book excerpts)
Directed by: Robert Altman
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 101
Date: 05/01/1972

Images (1972)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Outside the Book

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Made during Robert Altman's peak creative period, Images was perhaps his only foray into the horror genre. It has all the brilliant psychological torment of Polanski's Repulsion, but spread out across a brighter, more colorful, widescreen frame. Susanna York stars as Cathryn, who finds herself staying in a remote house (in Ireland) with her mostly absent husband (Rene Auberjonois) and working on her children's book; we hear passages of said book, which was written by York in real life. She begins to suspect her husband of shady dealings, and she begins to see and hear strange things, perhaps ghosts and perhaps real people. When she lashes out and kills one such intruder, she waits for the corpse to disappear... and waits. Altman tells this story with no hospital room explanations or backstory, just complete interior psychosis. It mostly alienated audiences of the 1970s, though York received the best Actress award at Cannes, and the film received one Oscar nomination (for John Williams' score). Today it can be seen as one of Altman's most fascinating -- and terrifying -- films.

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